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Sustainable Development and Legal Issues Revolving Around It

Sustainable development refers to “meeting the need of the present without compromising the future generations needs “which means optimum use of resources. The whole and sole dependency


Sustainable development refers to “meeting the need of the present without compromising the future generations needs “which means optimum use of resources. The whole and sole dependency of mankind is on the environment around us which is act as a shield around us that preserve life on planet ‘Earth’. The concept of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam ‘ is well enriched in our ordination, in the same way, the ethics guide us to protect the environment in today’s scenario, and we are facing a catastrophe event of degrading environment. Resources are limited by the unprecedented growth of demand. These are some common problems like hunger, poverty, unemployment, deforestation, climate change, and environmental pollution are major concerns at the international level. United Nations 17 Sustainable development goals (UNSDGs) agenda by 2030 to combat each issue of sustainability. Now it’s our time to give autonomous support to preserve the cultural heritage and upgrade the idea of sustainability by safeguarding heritage, biodiversity, and mainly environmental degradation. Here in this research, I will mainly emphasize the current challenges and solutions to combat the challenges.

Key Concerns Regarding Sustainable use of Resources

The idea of sustainability imparts a greater responsibility to the present generation to make a better future. The integration of social, economic, and environmental development .legal aspects of sustainability highlights the importance of policy regarding the upliftment of the environment, use of natural resources, and less exploitation of natural resources, to conserve biodiversity. Here are some key issues that are of great concern provided herein:

  • Legal aspects of social, Economic sustainability.
  • Legal aspects of preserving the environment
  • Policy safeguarding optimum use of natural resources.
  • The role of sustainable development programs is their outcome to meet future needs.
  • Development at local, national, and international levels.
  • Remedies or solutions to curb the upcoming challenges.


50 years of UN to achieve sustainable development. The remarkable era to protect humans, health, and the environment from pollution .it was a high attempt on 5-16 June to provide a global treaty on a major social and economic issue. Major 152 countries ratified to eliminate the endangers to the environment and the Stockholm convention was signed. After that with the advent of advancing economic competition and launching a new economic perception, new technology, and worldwide economic growth. Training in rural sectors, promotion of the unorganized sector. The world has faced a current pandemic, COVID -19 which greatly affected society at large and also affect the social and economic phase of the country. The international organizations of the UN set a remarked concern to the major issues of health, safety, technology, jobs, and various associated things to upgrade it and build a common better future to make a progressive society also a lesson in upcoming hurdles. the current pandemic was a learning lesson to make a better future along with the solutions pertaining to new challenges.

The Rio Declaration

A watershed event in the history of sustainable development is the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Provides the vision of social, economic, and environmental at all levels of government. Three major agreements were: “The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development”, “agenda 21”, and “the statement of principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, conservation, and sustainability of all forests”. Two conventions on biological conservation – the convention on biological diversity (CBD), and the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). Some of the principles of the Rio Declaration are as follows:

  • Concerns with the development of human beings in health and productive life.
  • Deals with the state approach towards sustainable economic development for the future.
  • Priority for development should be given to the least developed or vulnerable regions.
  • The State should try to maintain sustainable development by measuring the patterns of life, uncontrolled consumption, and other demographic factors.
  • For protecting the environment, they should adopt such a policy and also try to maintain the ecological balance.

The Global Earth Summit and Agenda 21

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, created a major step to raise global concern on environmental issues .major issues of the agreement were biological diversity, climate change, deforestation, and desertification considering these points will decide the future decision. Agenda 21 was a historic step in that field. The UNSDGs -United Nations sustainable development program and 17 goals which had the agenda to combat these issues by 2030 ‘leaving no one behind’. The agenda 2030 for sustainable development was adopted by United Nations in 2015. These goals are the heart of the UN organization, these are –


Various declarations in history can be traced which tend a great approach in that field:-

  • Millennium Summit in September 2000 was launched for eradicating poverty at an extreme level.
  • Johannesburg declaration in South Africa (2002) at the World summit on sustainable development laid more emphasis on a multilateral approach to safeguard and promote.
  • (Rio +20) in June 2012, the document ‘The future we want was adopted to launch future policies and a collective approach to allocate funds and to show great responsibility
  • Various landmark treaties have been signed in 2014, that were very crucial for us – Sendai framework for disaster management, Addis Ababa action on financing for development, 2030 agenda for UN sustainable development program, and Paris agreement on climate change.

Solutions And A Progressive Approach

Today, the Division for sustainable development goals in the UN department of economic and social affairs (UNDESA) serves a greater role in pathetic problems including the ocean, climate change, water resources, transport, science and technology, and regular update of sustainability through the Global Sustainable Report. This shows data that “India 18% of the world’s population, has 2.4% of the total geographical area, and mostly consumes 4% of total water resources”. Report says India has the largest groundwater resources. But the overcrowded population straining the resources. Some of the steps that can be taken are as follows:

  • The primary level approach initiates with individual stand, firstly one should harmonize and balance the use of resources as per their needs not by infinite desires.
  • The government had launched various projects like “Jal shakti” for the conservation of water resources, and a need is for effective implementation of such projects a great concern.
  • the state should draw a concern on bare lands, a major area of land that is open to grazing only, building small commercial start-ups will not only contribute to GDP but also provides employment and reduce poverty, hunger, and shelter to the needy.
  • Proper allocation of resources is the demand for today, the mixed economy approach is right, but if it will more socialistic then it going to tackle major issues, minimize the gap between rich and poor, and no more concentration of wealth.
  • A subjective approach, to arise the feeling of care towards plants, and the benefits of planting, for this various schemes and regular alerting seminars, should be organized on an urgent basis.
  • Global warming is a major issue it gives the effect of a 1.15-degree rise in temperature and due to these various hazardous occurrences in the USA, and Australia like bushfires and rapid devastating phases of heat waves. Hence combating it as soon as possible is desired.


The failure of sustainable development to address the deepening socio-ecological crisis indicates the need for the development of efficient methods. Those who believe sustainable development is capable of achieving its full potential, such as UNEP, have yet to provide a compelling explanation of how to resolve the issue. Sustainable development is deeply implicated in the multitude of social and legal systems, institutions, and practices that have created the unsustainable, uneven, and unjust world in which we live. In the small window of opportunity that remains, the radical solution will be of making a rational response to the unfolding socio-ecological crisis. 

Author(s) Name: Utsav Biswas (Gujarat National Law University, Silvassa)