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Sustainable Development: Some Key Issues

Sathiendrakumar, R. (1996) Sustainable Development: Some Key Issues. Murdoch University, Murdoch Univesity, Perth, Western Australia.

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This paper raises the question, how can sustainable development be achieved and what are the limiting constraints in achieving sustainable development? The main objective of this paper is to focus on key conceptual issues of 'sustainable development' with important operational implications for the attainment of 'sustainable development'. This paper is not designed to generate a general theory of sustainability.

Even though there are various definitions of sustainable development, the paper uses the definition put forward by Peace and Warford (1993) which defines sustainable development as "development that secures increases in the welfare of the current generation provided that welfare in the future does not decrease" (Pearce and Warford, 1993, p. 49). Using this definition, the paper considers four important sub-objectives of sustainable development namely: equity and social justice issues, ecological issues, economic issues (maximising service to a given stock of resources) and environmental issues (minimising throughput to maintain a given level of stock. Using this frame work, the paper considers the conditions necessary for sustainable development namely: (1) maintaining a minimum population, (2) reducing poverty, (3) optimal depletion of non-renewable resources, (4) optimal depletion of renewable but exhaustible resources, (5) preventing environmental degradation and (6) improving energy efficiency. Finally, the paper also emphasises the need to change the current measurement of growth which fails to account for sustainability principles.

Publication Type: Working Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Commerce
Series Name: Department of Economics Working Papers
Publisher: Murdoch University
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