Cover Image
close this book Developing ideas: Issue 5
View the document I. Editorial
View the document 1. Common security
View the document 2. Multi-stakeholder paths to peace
View the document 3.Virtual transparency
View the document 4. Sustainable nations
View the document 5. Water

4. Sustainable nations

First the bad news: Not one of the world's 200-some countries is as yet what we would call 'sustainable'. The good news is that at least some seem to be heading in the right direction. 'Sustainable nationhood' requires not only international security but also internal security. Among the cognoscenti with a degree of domestic vision for crafting common security at home, we count: Costa Rica with its 'SD Charter' and plan for 'Peace with Nature'; the post-civil-war Philippines with its pro-active peace-building dialogues between the military, churches, and student and indigenous groups; Pakistan with its high-minded National Conservation Strategy, and Canada with its stress on multi-culturalism. Most countries are strong in some aspects of internal security but weak in others. Germany for instance deserves kudos for its leadership in ecological security, but lower marks for human security with the resurgence of violence directed at ethnic minorities. The ecological security of Pakistan and Costa Rica could still be undermined by social and ethnic strife. And the strides in cultural tolerance made in Canada might still be sidelined by an addiction to over-consumption of energy and material goods. But sustainable nations also require secure borders. Some countries are promoting common security regionally as well as at home. The Costa Rican government, for example, championed the peace process in Central America. And a citizen's movement in Europe is helping to bolster regional security with a continent-wide campaign to decrease consumption. While progress is to be applauded, there remains a long way to go. The majority of the world's people still live in nations where domestic security is but a dream. [lighting the way for the rest of us?]

Sustainable social system n. cultures, traditions and social institutions with 'staying power'

Friends of the Earth Europe. Towards Sustainable Europe: The Study. Luton, UK: Friends of the Earth. 1 995. 215p.

Pakistan Environment and Urban Affairs Division and lUCN-The World Conservation Union. The Pakistan National Conservation Strategy. Karachi, Pakistan: Government of Pakistan 1992. 378p.

NOT HOT - When National Vision Fails

We've reviewed the nations that possess a spirit for sustainability. Now let's examine the duds. Environmentally speaking, perhaps Russia, China and India take the cake for their resolute disregard for adopting greater caution in the manufacture of CFCs that threaten the Earth's atmospheric ozone. Politically and socially, the cultural intolerance of ethnic minorities in Rwanda, China, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia demand special attention. Economically, misguided Canadian and American policies for subsidizing cheap energy at the expense of the global environment also deserve dismay.

UNDP Human Development Index html

United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development /dpcsd/dsd/csd.htm