Taking Sustainable Development from Sentiment to Policy

Monday, 16 April, 2007 - 11:14

Michael Hopkins asks why the notion of 'sustainable development' took so long to enter the development lexicon and how the idea has been transformed in its encounter with reality.

Michael Hopkins asks why the notion of 'sustainable development' took so long to enter the development lexicon and how the idea has been transformed in its encounter with reality. Hopkins points out that although the sentiment of sustainable development has passed into common use, the process it has taken for action to accompany this sentiment shows that even key issues often need long-term planning, patient organisation, hard work, and timing before they move onto the global agenda. He writes that “It is regrettable but true that the process seems also to require a few disasters to help awake the world's population from its slumbers.”

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