The concept appeared in earlier decades due to a high number of environmental movements. It was first defined by World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) as the development that „meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition is clear enough, no need for further explanations. But there are two more questions worth thinking about: Why should we think about the future generations and how do we implement sustainable development?

Concerning the first problem, we have to take into consideration that sustainable development not only helps our children, grand-children, grand-grand-children and so on, but also helps us. It helps us to live a better life in a better by reducing pollution, uncontrolled waste, controlling the resources which, in the end, influence the length and the quality of our life. Moreover, from the economics point of view, we all, as individuals, as long as we take into consideration a good management of our personal resources and we maintain our consumption rational, we will be able to fulfill better our needs.

However, how do we get to the sustainable development? Starting with 1992, with the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, the EU identified the need for sustainable development in Europe. There has been developed a strategy (which was renewed in June, 2006) that focuses on climate change and biodiversity. The challenges identified which European Union has to face are:

Climate change and clean energy
Sustainable transport
Sustainable consumption and production
Conservation and management of natural resources
Public health
Social inclusion, demography and migration
Global poverty

Unfortunately, although the first summit concerning sustainable development took place 17 years ago, the progress in this direction is still not very significant. This is also because of the different understanding and implementation of the concept of sustainable development in EU’s state members, and the reticence especially of the poorer countries regarding this concept. Many state members tend to believe that the implementation of a good sustainable development strategy is expensive, or they even consider it “a brake to development”. In this situation, it is no wonder that the strategy did not achieve its goals. Still, new goals have been set, among which the limitation of the climate change and the reduction of the greenhouse gases by 20 percent by 2020. How and if this targets will be met, remains to be seen.

Irina Harau