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The 7 Dimensions of Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is a concept which ensures equal opportunity to people. It refers to economic, social, and ecological development. The concept has been defined in different ways and in different areas of life.

For example, the definition proposed by the Malaska working group in 1994 describes sustainable development as the ability to adapt human activity to the Earth’s capacity. This definition is more radical than the one suggested by the Brundtland Commission report.

Another definition presented by the Malaska working group emphasizes the ecological diversity of the Earth. In the same way, the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development also emphasized the ecological aspect of sustainability.

While the three-pillar model of sustainability has been accepted in political discourse, many authors have expanded the concept of sustainable development to include other aspects. They argue that environmental issues are impossible to solve without alleviating poverty.

Many countries have to simultaneously progress along several different dimensions of sustainability. However, political debate tends to focus on a single point. Consequently, it is easy to make generalizations about different countries.

A third definition, proposed by the Malaska working group, outlines the need for sustainable development as a process. Economic activities should be carried out in such a way as to conserve resources and to maximize the net benefits of economic development. Hence, the economy is seen as a servant rather than a master.

An important technical dimension is that sustainable development requires the use of environmentally-friendly technologies. Such systems must be capable of safeguarding the atmospheric balance and the other elements of the ecosystem.

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