The idea of “Sustainable Development” dates back to the late 1980s and the report of the Brundtland Commission “Our Common Future”. According to the Brundtland Commission:
“Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
- the concept of ‘needs’, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
- the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology andsocial organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs” (WCED, 1987).
A special part of the report is dedicated to the “Equity and The Common Interest” and underlines the interdependence between environmental degradation and the “disparities in economic and political power”, by arguing that these issues are “inextricably related fundamental problems that cannot be successfully addressed in isolation” (WCED, 1987, ch.2-16).
The fundamental role of Local Self-government
The role of self-government, local institutions and their participatory and direct-democratic design is most essential for the practical realization of the idea of Sustainable Development. The Brundtland Commision underlined this fact and argued that:
“Most important, effective participation in decision-making processes by local communities can help them articulate and effectively enforce their common interest…
The law alone cannot enforce the common interest. It principally needs community knowledge and support, which entails greater public participation in the decisions that affect the environment. This is best secured by decentralizing the management of resources upon which local communities defend, and giving these communities an effective say over the use of these resources. It will also require promoting citizens’ initiatives, empowering people’s organizations, and strengthening local democracy” (WCED, 1987, ch.2- 20, 77).
Our strategy for Sustainable Local Development consists in empowering and helping local communities to Appreciate, Protect and Preserve their natural resources, to develop networks of eco-agriculture and eco-markets.