Policies to Enhance Sustainable Development

Sustainable development involves linking the economic, social and environmental objectives of societies in a balanced way. It stresses the importance of taking a broader view of what human welfare entails, of using a long-term perspective about the consequences of today's activities, and of recognising the global nature of many of the most pressing challenges facing societies. OECD countries committed themselves to sustainable development at the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development. However, action to meet these commitments remains slow. This report identifies some of the main barriers -- conceptual and practical -- that stand in the way of progress, and some of the areas where concrete government actions will allow a better integration of environmental, economic and social goals. Particular focus is placed on how the use of the price system, reform of governments' decision-making processes, technology policies, and international trade and investment may each contribute to removing incentives to unsustainable resource depletion and environmental degradation. Recommendations in each of these areas are presented in this Report, and then applied to two areas -- climate change and natural resource management -- where the risks of non-sustainability appear to be highest.

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