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Chapter

7. Greener Growth  

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development became the dominant discourse in global environmental affairs in the 1980s, spurred by the landmark Brundtland report to the United Nations, and remains widely popular, embodied for example in the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by an assembly of all the world’s countries in 2015. Sustainable development combines ecological protection, economic growth, social justice, and intergenerational equity, which can be sought globally and in perpetuity. “Green growth” becomes possible, while ecological limits and boundaries fade into the background. However, it is necessary for a collective effort that involves governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations, and citizens to make this happen. Sustainable development is an integrating discourse that covers local and global environmental issues and a host of economic and development concerns. Beyond this shared discourse, different actors (such as corporations and environmentalists) ascribe different means to the idea. Despite its popularity as a discourse, sustainable development has not actually been achieved anywhere.

Chapter

This chapter examines sustainable development, an integrating discourse covering environmental issues from the local to the global, as well as a host of economic and development concerns. Sustainable development is different from Promethean discourse because it requires coordinated collective efforts to achieve goals, rather than relying on human spontaneity and ingenuity. It is also different from environmental problem solving discourses because it is much more imaginative in its reconceptualization of the terms of environmental dispute and in its dissolution of some long-standing conflicts. After explaining what sustainable development is, the chapter provides a historical background on the concept. It then considers the discourse analysis of sustainable development and concludes by reflecting on the prospects for the success or failure of sustainable development.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the importance of politics to the relationship between human rights and development. It describes the two major ways in which human rights struggles have focused on development processes in the last two decades: the right to development, the struggles of poor countries for a better deal in the global economic system; and the human rights-based approach to development, the struggles of poor people for development to realize their rights. The chapter first considers the links between human rights, politics, and development before analysing the concepts and debates surrounding the right to development and the human rights-based approach to development. It then presents a case study on the Millennium Development Goals and the successor, Sustainable Development Goals, to illustrate how human rights principles are raised in contemporary debates on development priorities.

Chapter

Devon E. A. Curtis and Paul Taylor

This chapter examines the development of the United Nations and the changes and challenges that it has faced since it was founded in 1945. It opens with three framing questions: Does the UN succeed in reconciling traditions of great power politics and traditions of universalism? Why has the UN become more involved in matters within states and what are the limits to this involvement? What are the UN's biggest successes and challenges in its efforts to prevent and resolve conflict and to promote sustainable development? The chapter proceeds by providing a brief history of the UN and its principal organs. It also considers the UN's role in the maintenance of international peace and security, and how the UN addresses issues relating to economic and social development. Two case studies are presented: the first is about UN peacekeeping in the Congo and the second is about the 2003 intervention in Iraq.

Chapter

Alan Thomas and Tim Allen

This chapter discusses some of the ways in which the two concepts of poverty and development are related by considering a number of dimensions in which they appear to be opposed. It looks at the 'era of development', describing how the emphasis has shifted from theoretical debate between alternative models of development to acceptance of globalized liberal capitalism. The fusion of liberal democracy and industrial capitalism came to represent the only viable basis for modern human society — an approach that was commonly linked to the concept of globalization. The chapter then assesses the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and how they have been succeeded by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both of which frameworks exemplify development seen in terms of policy interventions to ameliorate poverty and other global problems — including climate change. Finally, it identifies some major dilemmas for development as the twenty-first century progresses.

Book

Edited by Peter Burnell, Vicky Randall, and Lise Rakner

Politics in the Developing World provides an introduction to politics in the developing world. This fifth edition has been updated to address topical issues and themes, including refugee movements; the rise of the so-called Islamic State; organized crime; gender; the role of new forms of communication in political mobilization; and the replacement of Millennium Development Goals by Sustainable Development Goals. The first four sections of the volume explore the theoretical approaches, the changing nature and role of the state, and the major policy issues that confront all developing countries. The final sections set out a diverse range of country case studies, representing all the main geographical regions.

Chapter

This chapter summarizes the volume's main ideas, a common thread of which is a renewed democratic politics, an ecological democracy. Each of the discourses analyzed in the text offers a reasonably comprehensive account of and orientation to environmental affairs at all levels, from the global to the local, and across different issue areas such as pollution, resource depletion, biodiversity, and climate change. Of the discourses surveyed, only Promethean discourse and ecological modernization provide any coherent analysis of what to do with the liberal capitalist economic order. The chapter considers how democratic pragmatism, sustainable development, ecological modernization, and green radicalism seem to provide more possibilities for learning. It also discusses several specific claims that can be made on behalf of deliberative democracy in an environmental context and concludes by arguing that ecological democracy should transcend the boundary between human social systems and natural systems.

Chapter

Ikenna Acholonu, Charlotte Brown, and Ingrina Shieh

This concluding chapter brings together reflections from practitioners, thinkers, and academics. They comment on achievements and challenges for social progress in the world over the past 30 years, and outline possible futures for poverty and development. Economist and historian María del Pilar López-Uribe speaks about the experiences of South American countries. She is an authority on the long-term effects of climate change and geography on institutional drivers of economic development, and on the history of land conflicts and property rights in Colombia. Meanwhile, Leonard Wantchekon highlights the role of technology in shaping the future of development. Affan Cheema also offers a practitioner's perspective on the need to approach humanitarianism from a more holistic perspective in relation to development. The chapter then looks at how warnings of the effects of climate change have galvanized international movements calling for governments to declare a climate emergency and prioritize policies that promote sustainability and mitigate the environmental impact of the global economy. Since forming in spring of 2018, the environmental pressure group Extinction Rebellion has organized protests that have reached international scale.

Chapter

This chapter examines the European Union's external environmental policy, with particular emphasis on the challenge faced by the EU in exercising leadership in global environmental governance and in the development of the climate change regime. It first considers the international dimension of the EU environmental policy as well as the issue of sustainable development before discussing the EU's efforts to lead the negotiation of an international climate regime up until the 2015 Paris conference. It then explores how the different energy interests of the member states have been accommodated in order to sustain European credibility. It also looks at the question of climate and energy security in the EU and concludes with an assessment of the factors that determine the success or failure of the EU in climate diplomacy, including those that relate to coordination and competence problems peculiar to the EU as a climate negotiator.

Chapter

This chapter assesses the global political economy of the environment. The growth of the world economy is transforming the Earth's environment. Nothing is particularly controversial about this statement. Yet, sharp disagreements arise over the nature of this transformation. Is the globalization of capitalism a force of progress and environmental solutions? Or is it a cause of the current global environmental crisis? The chapter addresses these questions by examining the debates around some of the most contentious issues at the core of economic globalization and the environment: economic growth, production, and consumption; trade; and transnational investment. It begins with a glance at the general arguments about how the global political economy affects the global environment. The chapter then traces the history of global environmentalism — in particular, the emergence of international environmental institutions with the norm of sustainable development. It also evaluates the effectiveness of North–South environmental financing and international environmental regimes.

Chapter

Viviane Gravey, Andrew Jordan, and David Benson

Despite its very strong economic roots, the European Union has nonetheless become an international leader in environmental protection and sustainable development policy. Environmental concerns have consequently shifted from being a marginal aspect of the European integration process to one that routinely grabs news headlines and, unlike many other EU policy areas, generates relatively strong political support from EU citizens. In the past, these policies, which now impinge on most sectors and areas of the economy, have proven resilient to economic and deregulatory pressures. This chapter documents and explores the reasons behind the relatively rapid transformation in the EU’s governing capabilities in this policy area, explores the main dynamics of policy-making from different analytical perspectives, and explores the impact of challenges such as climate change, Brexit, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chapter

David Benson, Viviane Gravey, and Andrew Jordan

Despite its very strong economic roots, the European Union has nonetheless become an international leader in environmental protection and sustainable development policy. Environmental concerns have consequently shifted from being a marginal aspect of the European integration process to one that routinely grabs news headlines and, unlike many other EU policy areas, generates relatively strong political support from EU citizens. These policies, which now impinge on most sectors and areas of the economy, have generally proven resilient to recent economic and deregulatory pressures. This chapter documents and explores the reasons behind the relatively rapid transformation in the EU’s governing capabilities in this policy area, explores the main dynamics of policy-making from different analytical perspectives, and identifies future challenges including Brexit.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the intersection of law and politics in global environmental governance. A key characteristic of global environmental governance is its fragmentation. The regulatory landscape is populated by a variety of hard and soft law regimes, institutions, processes, and actors, which address particular environmental challenges, or address them in particular ways. Yet there are core principles that are common to many of these regimes, including the precautionary principle, the prevention principle, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and the concept of sustainable development. The chapter then turns to an in-depth analysis of global climate change governance. It traces the evolution of climate change governance from the creation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1994 to the present, focusing on the major legal-institutional milestones of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement. Finally, the chapter returns to the problem of fragmentation, considering recent attempts to bring greater unity and coherence to global environmental governance.

Chapter

John Barry and Kerri Woods

This chapter examines the ways that environmental issues affect human rights and the relevance of human rights to environmental campaigns. It also evaluates proposals for extending human rights to cover environmental rights, rights for future generations, and rights for some non-human animals. The chapter begins with a discussion of the relationship between human rights and the environment, along with the notion that all persons have ‘environmental human rights’. It then analyses the impact of the environment on human security and its implications for human rights issues before considering case studies that illustrate how environmental issues directly impact on the human rights of the so-called environmental refugees, who are displaced from lands by the threat of climate change and also by development projects. Finally, the chapter describes the link between human rights and environmental sustainability.