Analytical Report- Act I: Sustainable Development; for human or for the environment?

In 2015, the United Nations announced the sustainable development agenda for the next 15 years, which is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. The Iranian president (Dr. Rouhani) also represented the country at the meeting on September 25, 2015, and promised to cooperate to fulfill these goals in Iran. Leaders from more than 150 countries attended in this summit.

But what is the real definition of “sustainable development“? In 1987, the Bruntland Commission published its report, Our Common Future, in an effort to link the issues of economic development and environmental stability. In doing so, this report provided the oft-cited definition of sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Sustainable development is about finding better ways of doing things, both for the future and the present. We might need to change the way we work and live now, but this doesn’t mean our quality of life will be reduced. The Sustainable Development Agenda includes 17 major goals (SDGs), the main focus of which is people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.

The first question that comes to mind upon hearing the concept of sustainable development is whether sustainable development only speaks of the environment? The answer is that the concept of sustainable development is far broader than just the environment. It’s also about ensuring a strong, healthy and just society. This means meeting the diverse needs of all people in existing and future communities, promoting personal wellbeing, social cohesion and inclusion, and creating equal opportunity.

More precisely, as long as there are livelihood problems in the community, until there is a significant population living below the poverty line (with a daily income of less than $1.25), as long as the state of health of the country has not improved, until a million people have a permanent drug abuse, as long as accidents and communicable diseases claim the lives of many people fall every year, as long as no city is prepared to deal with earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, achieving sustainable development is only a dream which will never come true.

On the road to sustainable development If everyone reacts and regrets when a few trees are cut off to build a tower or when the water is wasted by a person, the poor economic, social and cultural situation is more regrettable. It’s not possible to have a poor society (either economically or culturally), and talk about the great problems of water and air pollution. Poverty is not solely economic. Cultural poverty will also leave us out of the path of sustainable development. Culture-building practices is not only possible through the design of banners, animations, slogans and holding conferences. These tools are effective when their adoption is provided in the community. Occasionally, providing this platform can take many years and involve people from the very early decades of their lives.

From now on, we have about 12 years to realize the goals of sustainable development in 2030. Meanwhile, eight goals out of 17 refer directly to humans and their basic needs. So it is necessary to consider human rights and needs as much as the environment, and look at sustainable development as an interconnected package.

We should remember that if we have not sowed anything, we cannot expect reaping in the harvest season.\

by Amirhosein Abdorrezayi