What is development in a sustainable way?

Development that satisfies the needs of the present without undermining the potential of future generations to fulfil their requirements.

The Brundtland Commission introduced this most generally agreed on the concept of sustainable development in its ‘Our Shared Future’ report (1987).

Sustainable development (SD) is the call for deliberate attempts to create an equitable and inclusive environment and a prosperous and resilient human for the ecological future.

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Why Study the Environment for UPSC?

This is why you should be studying environment for UPSC:

It is an important section of the UPSC exam. For the UPSC test, both from the point of view of prelims and mains, the environment section is relevant. At least 15-20 questions in the UPSC Prelims may be directly or implicitly connected to the environment portion. Read more about the amount of environmental and ecological problems posed in previous years at the IAS Prelims to prepare better.

You can predict 2-3 questions from this segment in the UPSC Mains. And, in other topics as well, a clear grasp of environmental principles will help you write better replies. Questions are posed from an environmental viewpoint, also in the IAS interview.

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Main Components of Economic and Environment Development

Economic prosperity, social integration and conservation of the environment are three central aspects of sustainable development. Harmonizing and developing the environment is key.

For sustainability development, environment development, and sustainable economic growth, one should achieve sustainable livelihoods, live in harmony with nature and adequate technology is an essential concept.

Sustainability for the Environment

It avoids the use of nature as an inexhaustible resource base and guarantees its security and fair use. Aspects such as protection of the environment, investing in clean energies, saving water, encouraging economic mobility, and creativity in sustainable design and architecture lead on many fronts to the achievement of environmental sustainability.

Social Sustainability: Environmental Responsibility

To help achieve a reasonable and equally spread quality of living, health care and education across the world, it should encourage gender equity, human growth, communities and cultures.

Sustainability of Economics

It insists on equal economic prosperity, without damaging the climate, which creates income for everyone. Investment and fair economic capital sharing. Eradicating poverty in both its aspects and dimensions. Science and Conventional Knowledge Convergence Where people are willing to add their local capital and practise to the process of transition, progress not only becomes permanent but also accelerates. Traditional and empirical knowledge together is called knowledge of the culture. In several places, shifting toward sustainable development would require information from the community.

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Environment and Ecology: Some Key Terms under this Aspect

Definition of Environment And Ecology are listed below as follows,

Ecology is the study of the interchange between living organisms and their physical ecosystem, which includes humans; it aims to explain the essential relationships between plants and animals and the ecosystem that surrounds them.

Environmental science focuses on the relationships, and their effects on all kinds of species, between the physical, chemical and biological elements of the environment.

Indigenous information is a possible source for biodiversity conservation as well.

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  •  National Ayush Mission (NAM) and the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library have acknowledged the importance of traditional knowledge (TKDL).
  • There are various International concerns relating to sustainable growth such as the Global economies’ inequitable growth (North-South Divide)
  • Loss of Biodiversity: The loss of global biodiversity persists amid mounting attempts over the past 20 years.
  • Climate change: Climate change, as a global crisis, needs a global response. Particular focus has to be paid to the particular problems posed by climate change. Two mutually reinforcing concerns are tackling climate change and encouraging sustainable growth.
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs): Welfare is required for both the rich and poor to have access to the outcomes of progress that can contribute to economic growth in an inexpensive manner.

A List of Global Sustainable Growth Programmes

  • The 1972 Stockholm Conference: It was the first step toward bringing environmental issues on the international agenda. The Stockholm Declaration, which included principles and an Action Plan including environmental policy proposals, culminated in this.
  • UNEP was set up in 1972 to act as a catalyst for the creation and coordination of an emphasis on the environment in other organisations’ programmes.
  • The Earth Summit, 1992: This was a direct product of the report of the Brundtland Committee. In Rio de Janeiro, it was carried. The conclusion of the meeting was followed by the following documents:
  1. The Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC)
  2. Agenda 21
  3. The Statement on Forest Principles
  4. The Convention on Biological Diversity
  5. The Rio Declaration
  6. Kyoto Protocol,1997
  7. Ramsar Convention, 1971
  8. Rio +10, 2002: A 10-year Rio +10 appraisal took place at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).
  • The Convention on World Heritage, 1972: Recognizes and protects the cultural and natural heritage of the world. It draws up a list of heritage sites,’ which are ‘outstanding universal importance’ cultural, geological or mixed areas and therefore need to be protected for all humanity.

Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs)

The 2030 Plan for Sustainable Growth and SDGs has been initiated to bring sustainable development into the mainstream United Nations (UN) framework. This universal, interconnected and revolutionary agenda seeks to inspire efforts that over the next 15 years will bring an end to poverty and create a more prosperous environment. There are 17 milestones and 169 clear targets to be reached by 2030.

Achieving the targets involves effort on all fronts: states, corporations, civil society and citizens all have a role to play everywhere. Sustainable Development Goals are not binding by law.

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Global Initiatives Roadblocks

To balance the ‘sovereignty’ claim of the Member States with the increasing interdependence of the world and the need for concerted action.

For example, overcoming the North-South gap is one of the main challenges facing the international framework of environmental protection.

The ‘northern’ country has only over 20% of the world’s economy but absorbs 80% of the world’s population.

Regional Measures

Regional frameworks are effective ways of solving trans-boundary problems such as atmospheric emissions and the pollution of common rivers and bodies of water that can not be addressed by nations on their own. Few transactional costs, less time-taking and better chances of success are included in geographic mechanisms.

The European Union (EU): implemented those environmental standards, i.e. the protective principle, the principle of subsidiarity, the integrative principle, the principle of polluter pay, etc.

ASEAN has many legal options for the community.

Environmental Action Plan (1997), implemented by SAARC:

The 2006-2015 Holistic Structure on Emergency Management was introduced to meet the particular needs of disaster risk management in 2006.

Cooperatives’ Role in Sustainable Development

Cooperative communities connect citizens at the grassroots level to the government’s highest level. Co-operatives and NGOs contribute greatly to the development of the socio-economic conditions of the rural poor, as well as to the adoption of environmentally sustainable technology for their working and to raising awareness of environmental problems among people.


Environment and sustainable development is an essential topic for the UPSC exam, To know how to train for it with the UPSC exam in mind. Check out UPSC Pathshala to learn more tips and tricks like these and other important information related to UPSC.

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Environment and Sustainable Development: Everything You Need to Know for the UPSC Exam
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Environment and Sustainable Development: Everything You Need to Know for the UPSC Exam
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