Sustainable Development Goals and Requirements:
A Simple Representation [1]

Achieving the primary goal of sustainable development Human Health and Well-being
requires health and balance of various systems Economic Systems Environmental Systems Social Systems
and, therefore, attention to conditions and exchanges within those systems. Human-Environment Relationships Relations within & across Ecosystems Human-Human Relationships
Sustainable development incorporates three primary, foundational principles Meet human needs (material & non-material) Maintain ecological integrity Ensure equity & social justice
and three supportive, process-oriented principles Facilitate Participation & Cooperation Use Appropriate Technology Develop Appropriate Organizational Structures
intended to facilitate the meeting of sustainable development's goals.


NARRATIVE: The ultimate goal of sustainable development is human health and well-being. Some have raised objections to my emphasis on human health and well-being arguing that human health is dependent on the health of the biosphere and, therefore, protection of the environment should be the primary goal. While I agree with this dependency, declaring environmental protection as the ultimate goal leaves open the option of eliminating overly destructive species (e.g., humans) from the planet; I doubt this is an option for serious consideration. ‘Sustainable Development' is a human construct and humans are a central focus of concern. In the end, sustainable development calls for human transformation; a personal transformation.

Achieving the primary goal of sustainable development requires health and balance of various systems -- economic systems, environmental systems, social systems -- and, therefore, attention to conditions and exchanges within those systems. Attention must be given to relations between humans and their environment(s); relations within and across ecosystems; and relations between humans individually and collectively. Principles intended to facilitate movement toward sustainable development include three core or ‘foundational' principles: meeting human needs; maintaining ecological integrity; and ensuring social equity and justice. These objectives are to be supported by three process-oriented principles: facilitate participation and cooperation of various interested parties and stakeholders in information-gathering and decision-making processes; use technology appropriate to the problem and context; and develop appropriate organizational structures which support and manage change and maintenance strategies.

[1] Excerpt from Fiona S. Crofton © 1995


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