Our Common Future

In 1983, the Brundtland Commission addressed to the UN the growing concern "about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development." It is this same Commission that coined what has become the most often-quoted 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."

The issue of sustainable development does not only fall within the scope of the environment but, rather, to the independent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development as economic development, social development and environmental protection. Environmental sustainability is defined as the ability of the environment to continue to function properly indefinitely. This involves meeting the present needs of humans without endangering the welfare of future generations. The goal of environmental sustainability is to halt environmental degradation.

The issue of sustainable development is an issue of moderation and of balance. No state can afford to focus solely on the economy much to the detriment of a neglected working society and a diminishing environment. No state can afford to focus solely on society and social issues much to the detriment of the market and the environment. No state can afford to focus solely on 'green' issues without considering the needs of society and the economy. Therefore, a state which seeks to implement sustainable development needs to truly balance the economic, social, and environmental well-being of all, now, without compromising future generations.

It has emerged, that sustainable development is at the core of the Maltese government's program. This is commendable. Therefore, one hopes, that the government lives up to its promise much to the benefit of our common future. Malta is waiting. Malta is watching.

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