7 Central Themes‎ > ‎

Sustainable Economic Growth


The world’s financial, trade and government system have all contributed to the global economic growth in this century. However, this economic growth has often been achieved without consideration of important environmental and social realities. The failure to include full environmental costs in the valuation of resources has also led to the over-consumption of resource-based products and ensuing environmental degradation, which is also known as the “tragedy of the commons”.


One of the central themes of AGENDA 21 is Sustainable Economic Growth. The focus is to look at how to transform global economic growth based on sustainability. It is critical that international relations between nations be conducted on a basis that is both environmentally responsible and equitable.  The international economy should provide a supportive global climate for achieving environment and development goals. Sustainable development and environmental soundness must be integrated into all levels of political and economic decision making.



The major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, aggravating poverty and imbalances. Since we are left with little resources for combating poverty and the environmental crisis, we are in a good position to integrate the two and build a strong resistance against total world devastation.


The four major areas that support a global economic climate, environmental and development goals are discussed below.

  • Trade Policies and Systems

a) Must be equitable, open and predictable.

b) Trade systems must be consistent with the goal of sustainable development, and benefit all partners.

  • Economic Policies and Financial Resources

a)      Countries need to be sustainably focused

b)      Industrialized countries must support developing countries

c)      Develop domestic and international enforcement to preserve economic fairness

  • Sustainable Development

a)      Research and develop environmentally sound technology

b)      Reduce, reuse and recycle resources more efficiently on a global scale

  • Global Cooperation

a)      Justified agreements between business and governments

b)      Use training , collaboration and joint ventures

The need for sustainable development has created an urgent call for the partnership of national and international policies which will bring change to our world economic system.

All groups within our society that are in decision-making positions such as, government, industry and corporate individuals are affected by the policies and planning of economic development.

In order for environment and development to coincide, the following program areas must be addressed:
• Encouraging greater efficiency in the use of energy and resources
• Minimizing the generation of wastes
• Assisting individuals and households to make environmentally sound purchasing decisions
• Exercising leadership through government purchasing
• Moving towards environmentally sound pricing
• Reinforcing values that support sustainable consumption.

Action is needed to educate and promote patterns of consumption and production that reduce environmental stress, while meeting  the basic needs of humanity.