Received May 20, 1997,Revised June 20, 1997, Accepted , Available online

Volume 10,1998,Pages 129-143

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Over the past decade, the term “sustainable development” has emerged as the principal concept in the development field. The concept emerged in the 1970s and was first promoted in the international environmental and development communities with the publication of the “world conservation strategy"(1980). It was popularized by the Brundtland report, “Our common future"(1987). The Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as “development which meets the needs of the present, without compromising the sustainability of future generation to meet their own needs". The Earth Summit(1992) established “sustainable development" as the most important policy of the 21st century. Since then, the relationship between development and environment has been widely discussed and sustainabale development is now an important part of the vocabulary of environmental policy research and analysis. In this paper, we begin by tracing the evolution of the concept of sustainable development. Definitions of sustainable development in ecology, economics and sociology are then explored and discussed. This paper also examines the contribution that a broadly based concept of sustainable development can make: as a goal, an attitude and as a guiding principle for integrating economic development and environmental protection.

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