Sustainable development brought together the great global issues
Since the creation of the United Nations, the world`s peoples have aspired to make progress on the great global issues of peace and security, freedom, development, and environment.
Peace and security, freedom, development, and environment remain prominent aspirations today, and it has been increasingly acknowledged that they are closely interlinked. High-level panels and commissions, major documents, and global conferences have all made a moral and pragmatic case for progress in the UN Charter goals. Insufficient development progress can threaten peace and security and vice versa. Development provides the capacity to sustain nature`s life support systems, but can also threaten them, in turn setting back development.
The concept of sustainable development brought together development and environment
Strong interdependencies are now recognized among the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Since the 1960s, natural and social scientists have highlighted a series of sustainable development issues and recommended integrated policy action and commensurate means of implementation, such as technology, finance, capacity building and trade.
In the Brundtland report, the concept of sustainable development is defined as a "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
The Brundtland report of 1987, entitled Our Common Future, defined the concept of sustainable
development, which is grounded in equity and shared well-being both within and across generations.
Sustainable development was subsequently adopted as an overarching objective by Governments at the
Earth Summit of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, together with a set of Rio Principles and a global action plan,
Agenda 21, which included many goals and targets, some of which informed the Millennium
Development Goals a decade later.
The time has come to reconnect science and policy.
The policy framework itself emerged with limited direct scientific input. The World Commission on Environment and
Development was dominated by politicians and little science was present at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Ten years later at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, there was some scientific presence. In 2012 at "Rio+20", the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, science was very prominent. One reason is the emergence of sustainability science as a new interdisciplinary, unified scientific endeavour in the 2000s. It commanded an estimated 37,000 authors based in 174 countries in 2010.