16 Sustainable Development
Sustainable development, a concept that has been recognised since the 1980s, is based on three pillars of development: the development of the environment, the economy and the society. 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. To meet the requirements of long-term sustainable development, two dimensions absolutely need to be considered. The dimension of time means monitoring the use of resources in such a way that their availability is guaranteed for future generations, too. The dimension of space pays attention to every person's and country's equal access to adequate resources (the principle of the universal goal of needs).
The youth are the first ones to be affected by ecological, economic and social problems; in other words, by questions of sustainability. They are the first ones to be affected by the negative impact of an economic crisis, and the negative ecological consequences will burden them in the future. On the other hand, the youth are also the first who can stand up for sustainable development. It is important to give them the possibilities (knowledge, financial resources, etc.) so that they can make their contribution and are encouraged to follow this path. Youth organisations should become protagonists of sustainable economic development by managing and chairing their projects: on the ecological level through the choice of environment and energy resources use as well as conscientious actions in social and cultural matters.
Sustainable development is therefore a goal that should be reached in any youth project. The motto "act locally, think globally" is important in every project, no matter how small-scale it is. This motto is a prerequisite for sustainable development.
Here are some examples of measures that need to be considered to have a sustainable project:
- Sensitise youth organisations and youth for ecological questions, raise awareness for the global effects and environmental problems (climate change, efficient use of natural resources, ...)
- Inform the population and sensitise youth for sustainable development
- Consider sustainable development in all social, sports or cultural activities.
- Promote using new technologies and resources, and renewable energy
- Choose activities that are ethically important and respect the environment
- Use organic and/or fair-trade products.
To summarise: participate in socially and economically viable projects that are also ecologically faultless.
Links and support:
Manual about youth and sustainable development: Promotes youth's knowledge about sustainable development and the cooperation of international networks and youth. Also contains a list with links and one with international and regional youth organisations.
Development Education Association: Promotes education for a just and sustainable world.
Swiss Confederation, National Administration: The system the MONET indicators
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