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Sustainable Development
The universal definition of Sustainable Development was formulated in 1987 by the Brundtland Commission (United Nation) as:
  • a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs;
  • a process in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony, and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.

These concepts imply awareness of the actors, strategic decisions and courses of adequate actions to utilise, maintain and pass on to future generations the available resources in order to allow them to wisely govern this heritage (environmental patrimony), reducing progressively the environmental deficits in such a way that these will not be a burden and threat to posterity.
This powerful definition means that development and sustainability should proceed together and be linked. Development as the way to overcome poverty; sustainability as the precondition of lasting development preserving, replacing and substituting resources in favour of future generations as well as the present one.

Two relevant principles assume a transversal role:

  • inter-temporal principle, which relates to futurity (or posterity); equity as a value to be followed among generations calls for society to operate on a long term time scale in order to consider the impact on the welfare of future generations; in this relationship between past, present and future, human cultures express their wisdom in dealing with the scarcity, utilisation of resources, their depletion and needs as an individual and collective demand for a better standard of living

  • inter-regional principle, which concerns the lack of boundaries in the environmental dynamics (no country can see itself as separated from the general performance of nature), but also in economy and society (globalisation of markets, institutions, styles of life, cultures); everything is connected; diversities are mixed; local and global dimensions are relevant and simultaneous, and a community becomes sustainable if it lives in harmony with its local environment and does not cause damage to distant environments or other communities - now or in the future

A necessity stems from those principles to integrate 10 development components, as it is fostered by the Sustainable Quality Management (SQM): the environment, economy, socio-culture, social equity, inter-local equity, inter-temporal equity, diversity, subsidiarity, partnership e networking, participation.