Sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, as famously phrased by the Brundtland Commission in 1987.
The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the UN Member States in September 2015 for the period 2016-2030 reflect an ambitious and transformative framework – a paradigm shift in international development that has the potential to put the world on a more sustainable path and ensure a life of dignity for all. In addition, the new agenda is underpinned by goals on peaceful and inclusive societies and effective institutions, means of implementation and follow-up mechanisms to make the agenda work.
While the MDGs were of limited relevance for the UNECE region as a whole, the 2030 Agenda is designed as a universal framework for all countries, regardless of their level of development. UNECE activities are closely related to many of the areas of the SDGs and will be instrumental for translating the new framework into concrete measures throughout the region and beyond.
The concept of sustainable development was endorsed by the world’s Governments at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and reaffirmed at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio+20). Despite progress, social, economic and environmental considerations have yet to be fully integrated in policy-making, business practices and lifestyles throughout this diverse region.