Remember that another definition for sustainable development is “making our today comfortable while also considering how to secure our common future”.
My personal belief is that the responsibility for the achievement of a sustainable environment, including health and development for the world’s citizens lies in the hands of individuals, governments, businesses, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s), policy makers, donors of aid to developing countries and even the United Nations. Remember that another definition for sustainable development is “making our today comfortable while also considering how to secure our common future”. The use of the word “common” denotes that the responsibility lies in all hands.
Sustainable Development Drive by The United Nations
On the part of the United Nations, it should come up with legal means to rate governments in line with adherence to the principles of sustainability as spelt out in the Rio declaration of 1992. This rating scale should be based on certain metrics of measurement, including policy making and monitoring regarding sustainable development. Also, points based results should be publicized so that citizens can be aware of the real actions their governments put in to securing a future for them and yet unborn generations. To take it a step further, certain sanctions can be put in place to deter governments and their agents from acting against the aforementioned principles, while developing countries that commit resources above their GDP targets to sustainability should be given a mention and encouraged.
Support for Social Entrepreneurship Ventures
Donors and grant managers can contribute to this effort by supporting social entrepreneurships, which are highly innovate and socially responsible profit making ventures that satisfy pressing needs of a large amount of people within its coverage area. Sample ventures in this space include the “300-dollar house idea”, delivery of cheap solar panels to off-grid communities in some developing countries, the “Samasource project” and the likes.
The great impact of these social entrepreneurship ventures is that they lead to sustainable development, without preventing the business owners from making profits. For instance, the amount of fossil fuels that would be burned for lighting purposes by several off-grid rural communities in developing countries has been greatly reduced due to access to cheaper and cleaner solar panels.
Consumer Awareness Campaigns
Increased awareness campaigns (by NGO’s, governments and donors) should be put out to assist consumers’ world over in understanding how to identify and patronize products that are manufactured in a sustainable manner and limit the degradation of the environment. This way, companies will be encouraged to consider sustainability in their operations and report their efforts to the public. This drive will make companies understand that sustainability practices can be used as a competitive edge for their products and services.
In addition, steps should be taken by all parties concerned to include the practice of sustainability into the educational curriculum at all levels. This way, children will grow up to understand the importance of sustainable practices. Scholarship grants should be awarded at all levels of tertiary education in order to increase the number of sustainability professionals worldwide.
The adoption of these different efforts will definitely lead to the achievement of a sustainable environment, health and development in the long run. It is very important that all individuals and stakeholders mentioned above put in effort in their own areas of competence in order to achieve this aim.