Challenges Of Sustainable Development

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Since the evolution of man, the general assumption is that man has been living at the detriment of the environment without the awareness about the limited availability of the earth resources in particular before and during the 18th centuries. This was due to the proportion of human population on the earth surface to the available resources. At the beginning of the 20th century when there was a dramatic increment in human population (UnitedNations 2015) couple with industrial revolution which lead to increment of human activities such as deforestation, air pollution, increase use of chemicals resulting into soil degradation and lot more, it became clear to man the limited capacity of the environment and the need for sustainability to have a…show more content…
Unequal distribution of development as can be seen in problems like hunger, poverty, illiteracy and ill health are also some key issues. These social, environmental and economic stresses are now known to be interdependent (Lawrence 1997; Morrison-Saunders & Pope 2013). The challenges posed by the increasing population became the drivers for sustainable development, a concept, which is now adapted as an important objective by policy makers (Morrison-Saunders & Retief 2012). Part of the goals of EIA, is to achieve a sustainable development. However, before the role of EIA in sustainable development can be critically assessed, there is need to understand the concept of sustainability. Sustainable development is widely defined according to the Brundtland report by several authors as the development that meets the needs of the present generation without depriving the future generations of the ability to meet their own needs (Bruhn-Tysk & Eklund 2002). This encompasses the conservation of the integrity of the ecosystem for both the present and the future generation without depriving the present generation of the basic needs for survival and comfort at the same time positively enhancing the economic growth (Herremans & Reid 2002). According to Sadler (1990), ecology, that is the environment; social impacts and economic viability are interrelated and should not be separated in making decision for development. This poses to the policy/decision makers the challenge of unbiased decisions in project development. Although, EIA centres on the mitigation of any harmful environmental impacts that is likely to arise, the impacts on the economic and social status of the people can also be considered making EIA a crucial tool for decision making (Weston 2000).
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