The rise and fall of sustainable development

Sustainable development is turning brownish. Too many disparate initiatives are being conducted under its banner. The concept of 'sustainable development' no longer provides an adequate umbrella for the main challenge currently faced by global environmental governance - namely implementation. Its very strengths are turning into fatal weaknesses. Vague enough to bring all States and other stakeholders to the negotiating table, the concept of 'sustainable development' was very successful in managing the political collision between 'development' and 'environment' throughout the 1980s and the 1990s. It was a formidable tool to find balance as well as for normative development. But it is inadequate to navigate the implementation phase. This article introduces an alternative model, based on four strategic priorities (participation, differentiation, decarbonization, and innovation and technology diffusion). It maps different levels at which these priorities could be pursued in order to make global environmental governance more effective. The article is not against the concept of 'sustainable development' as a worthy 'fight'. It is about the need to use another 'weapon' to spearhead efforts to meet the challenge of implementation.

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In: Review of European, comparative and international environmental law. - Oxford. - Vol. 22(2013), Issue 1, p. 3-13

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 Record created 2013-06-10, last modified 2019-09-14

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