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Sustainable Development

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Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Sustainability is the foundation for today’s leading global framework for international cooperation – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Each of the 17 SDGs has specific targets to be achieved by 2030. The goals and targets are universal, meaning they apply to all countries around the world, not just poor countries. Reaching the goals requires action on all fronts – governments, businesses, civil society and people everywhere all have a role to play.

To find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals, explore our SDG Knowledge Hub – an online resource center for the latest news, original commentary from our experts, guest articles from key actors in SDG implementation, and a calendar of upcoming events related to the 2030 Agenda.

Sustainable development is in the news every day as the world copes with climate change, biodiversity loss, conflict and resource scarcity. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and subscribe to our biweekly e-newsletter to stay connected to the global conversation.

 
  • Blog
    Overseeing Agenda 2030—How to Avoid a Repeat of the Commission on Sustainable Development

    Overseeing Agenda 2030—How to Avoid a Repeat of the Commission on Sustainable Development

    The High-Level Political Forum is responsible for tracking and facilitating the implementation of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. Two things must happen if it is to be successful. 

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  • Book
    Modelling for Sustainable Development: New decisions for a new age

    Modelling for Sustainable Development: New decisions for a new age

    This book provides a detailed overview of models used in designing projects and policies that integrate sustainable development considerations and objectives. 

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  • Policy Brief
    How and Why the U.S. EPA Is Changing its Policy on Mercury

    How and Why the U.S. EPA Is Changing its Policy on Mercury

    President Trump wants to loosen the US EPA's regulations on mercury. We explore what the proposed changes are, why they would be a mistake and how they could affect the lives of Americans and even Canadians.

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  • Report
    Sustainability and Second Life: The case for cobalt and lithium recycling

    Sustainability and Second Life: The case for cobalt and lithium recycling

    Adopting recycling in the mining sector and in supply chains is essential to ensure the transition to a low-carbon economy is responsible and sustainable for the longer term.

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  • Blog
    Our Sustainable Development Holiday Reading List

    Our Sustainable Development Holiday Reading List

    Looking for a book or podcast on sustainable development to enjoy during the holidays? The IISD team has your holiday reading list ready.

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  • Blog
    Making Winnipeg a Smart City With New Technologies

    Making Winnipeg a Smart City With New Technologies

    We asked four members of our Winnipeg team how they would tackle some of Winnipeg’s most pressing issues: This is what they came up with.

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  • Blog
    Biodiversity Conservation: Are we content to fight a rear-guard action?

    Biodiversity Conservation: Are we content to fight a rear-guard action?

    We have to devote ourselves to working out how nature might be placed at the heart of development to enhance social justice and biodiversity conservation.

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  • Report
    Comprehensive Wealth in Canada 2018 – Measuring What Matters in the Long Term

    Comprehensive Wealth in Canada 2018 – Measuring What Matters in the Long Term

    Comprehensive wealth measures the country’s produced, natural, human, financial and social capital.

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  • Briefing Note
    Estimating Employment Effects of the Circular Economy

    Estimating Employment Effects of the Circular Economy

    This note summarizes some of the definitions of the term "circular economy" and the baselines that have been used for projections on job impacts and growth. 

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  • Annual Report
    A Force for Action: IISD Annual Report 2017-2018

    A Force for Action: IISD Annual Report 2017-2018

    IISD's annual report for 2017-2018.

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