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[Living Green] [Column] 1. Keyword of the Century, 'Sustainable Development'_Kim Joo-Heon

by | 02-03-2012 14:25 Comments 13 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

Keyword of the Century, 'Sustainable Development' – from 'yellow economy' to 'green economy'


Representative of TEEB Korea, Kim Joo-Heon


'Sustainable development' became one of the most important keywords of 21st century. Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has mentioned sustainable development as the conversation topic of his second term in his UN general meeting speech last June when he was elected to serve consecutive terms. However, not many people know about the history and meaning. 

We need to trace back to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992 to find the trigger of sustainable development, its full-scale movement, because as United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was held in Brazil where Amazon, the repository of world's ecosystem, is located it left symbolic signpost in international community. Since the opening of UNCED, international society began to endeavor to realize sustainable development around international organization. Also, interest of people all around the world is now focused on 'Rio+20', United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), which is to be held in commemoration of its 20th anniversary in 2012. The conference is based on the Rio+20 inspection and evaluation on the outcome that the international society strives for sustainable development. It will focus on the new challenges faced by the international society.

      There are two main topics of the meeting. The first is on 'green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication' and the second is on 'institutional framework for sustainable development.' In other words, it is to identify how green economy pursues sustainable development and contributes to eliminate poverty, and to examine the kind of projects to be executed by international organizations for sustainable development.


      By the way, what is the definite meaning of sustainable development? According to the definition of Brundtland Commission, 1987, 'sustainable development' refers to the 'development that fulfills needs for today but not invading the needs of next generation' and 'development which gave full economic, environmental, and social consideration'.  Meaning, it needs to give economic support to people who are alive today, but it connotes the meaning of how considerations in various aspects are needed to make no adverse effect on the lives of next generation.


      However, the term 'sustainable development' needs to be clearly categorized from 'sustainable growth.' In fact, the expression, 'sustainable growth,' itself is a contradicting expression. The term 'economy' is limited in physical dimension. As economy continues to grow, it comprises a large portion of entire ecosystem and will reach 100% of the uppermost limit at the end. Therefore, economic growth is 'not sustainable,' and the term 'sustainable growth' is a contradicting phraseology. The dictionary definition of 'growth' is 'gradually becoming larger due to the growth size, weight, and volume.' On the other hand, 'development' is 'the process or result of progressing into better and more advanced level.' As a result, 'sustainable development' is possible but 'sustainable growth' is not.   


      On the other hand, international society is developing different concepts to make sustainable development possible. 'Green Growth' that Korean government is pushing forward, Green Economy and Sustainable Consumption and Production by UNEP, and Eco-Innovation by European Union are the examples. Various concepts may be comprehended as vehicles of realizing sustainable development at the end.

In addition, changes in policy through the spread of these concepts suggest how fulfillment of green economy does not just reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emission, but how it is even related to an active economic activity that creates more jobs. Specially, since President Lee, Myung Bak's inauguration, Korean government has continued to push 'green growth' in the forefront of the nation's policies while pursuing transition from 'yellow economy', an economic structure that mainly uses fossil fuel, to the green economy, where eco-friendly technology and policy are the main keys.  As a result, Low Carbon Green Growth Act was legislated and the first international organization ran by Korean government, the Global Green Growth Institute, was established. All these activities are to support sustainable development.  






  • Chaei Lim says :
    Nice article :)
    Posted 03-06-2018 22:33

  • says :
    Posted 25-11-2014 19:16

  • says :
    thanks for sharing this
    Posted 29-01-2014 17:01

  • says :
    liked the article
    Posted 31-12-2013 01:28

  • says :
    its true and thanks for the information
    Posted 28-12-2013 02:12

  • says :
    lets do something
    Posted 13-08-2013 09:30

  • says :
    thank you for great post.
    Posted 13-08-2013 08:36

  • says :
    thanks for sharing
    Posted 11-08-2013 10:07

  • says :
    thanks for sharing!!
    Posted 25-07-2013 00:51

  • says :
    thanks for the information
    Posted 22-07-2013 13:24

  • says :
    sustainable development is a necessity today
    Posted 21-07-2013 02:38

  • says :
    Yes, go green for green economy
    Posted 19-07-2013 22:26

  • says :
    Yes it is beyond doubt. 'sustainable development'
    Posted 22-06-2013 21:25

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