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The question of how to conciliate ecology, economy and society was first raised in the 1970s with UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme. The term, ‘sustainable development’, a product of the growing awareness that ensued, was defined in 1987 as: ‘development that responds to the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (Brundtland 1988).
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Return human beings to the centre of sustainable development concerns because people have the right to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature, notably through a fight against poverty respectful of present and future generations. Preserve global balances and environmental resources for long-term development by altering development modes and eliminating unsustainable production and consumption modes in favour of sustainable ones.
The principle of precaution, the principle of integrating the environment into the development process, the principles of responsibility and international solidarity, the principle of paying for pollution and the principle of participation for a new governance.
Declaration of principles concerning forests and the Rio Declaration on the environment and development.
At the 1992 Rio Summit, 150 countries committed themselves to linking the challenges of economic and social development with those of the environment to create a more unified world preserving resources and natural environments. This commitment was reconfirmed at the sustainable development summit in Johannesburg held 26 August to 4 September 2002.
According to de Bradt and Gadret (1998) a communal heritage is constituted by: ‘the ensemble of objects and products (including the natural environments that were or were not exploited by man and therefore a kind of “product” for him) to which this collective group or a sufficient portion of its members attach a value because what is involved are realities that testify to the identity of this collective group by establishing a temporal link between its past and present (witness to the past), and/or between its present and what it imagines for its future (witness to plans)’. Torrès (2002), specifies: ‘the expression “ensemble of objects and products” is very broad: it encompasses objects and natural environments but also architectural monuments, works of art, sites and landscapes, as well as information that can exist in different forms. Local social networks, customs, oral traditions, significant collective memories… can furthermore be considered as non-material components of heritage. The patrimonial goods require an economic treatment that is different (existence value, analysis in terms of “support and services”) than that applied to standard goods’.
‘Biodiversity conservation favours a collective good, in principle open to all humanity, but the social cost and restrictions associated with it are not borne equally. A way of softening this negative effect consists of seriously considering instituting social compensation mechanisms that will compensate the regional society for the advantages conceded to the collective. The definition of the compensation for the losses borne shall be the focus of extensive negotiation between public bodies and the affected population’ (Lima 2002).
‘Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided.’
‘The Aahrus Convention concerns access to information, public participation in decision-making processes, and access to justice concerning the environment. It focuses on the following three themes: developing citizens’ access to information held by public authorities, notably by ensuring the transparent and accessible diffusion of essential information; encouraging public participation in decision-making with environmental ramifications notably, encouraging public participation from the start of a development process “in other words, when all of the options and solutions remain possible and the public can have a real influence” the outcome of an individual’s participation must be taken into account in the final decision, which must also be openly communicated; broaden access to justice concerning environmental laws and access to information.’ URL: http://www.ecologie.gouv.fr/Communication-la-convention-d.html.
In terms of economics, Kat Aware relates to an attempt to internalize externalities, Tarawa to economic ecology, Domino Réunion may be associated with questioning initiated by de-growth theories given the issues linked to maintaining agriculture in La Réunion in a context of strong population growth.
These different forms of participation may be considered separately or simultaneously depending on the objective pursued and the resources available.
‘Local stakeholders need to produce norms concerning their territory. The correct mechanism thus is the following: within a procedural, overall framework, one sets the overarching agenda (descending logic of the production of norms) and the local stakeholders produce norms to apply this agenda with their own perceptions and arbitrage (ascending logic). Local stakeholders cannot imagine a precise objective of optimal sustainability, which is necessarily a complex concept, but they can act on the basis of the overall agenda for which there are strong reasons to believe they will converge on the set of objectives considered as simply appropriate. The production of local norms will therefore take place through empirical trial and error, step by step, in a context of daily grappling with the area’s environmental problems and in relation to the overarching agenda articulated at a global level’ (Torres 2002).
- ComMod: Engaged Research’s Contribution to Sustainable Development
AnneMarie Van Paassen
- Springer Netherlands
- Chapter 9