Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 67–83 | Cite as

Strategic thinking on sustainability: challenges and sectoral roles

  • Waseem Ahmad
  • Colin L. Soskolne
  • Tanvir Ahmed


This paper focuses on identified challenges for sustainable development across various sectors and the actions needed by different institutions and individuals for the achievement of a sustainable path. For finding solutions that impede sustainable development, emphasis is given to collaborative, inter- and trans-disciplinary problem-solving approaches. The ‘ecological modernization’ view is based on the belief that science and technology will result in continuous improvement in human welfare, while the emerging postmodern ‘ecological paradigm’ also emphasizes harmony with nature and other actors. Global societies are in the midst of a number of challenges: (1) implementation of existing and new hard- and soft-law instruments, (2) the degradation of natural resources, (3) an inadequate global mechanism for handling environmental and social responsibilities by the international community, (4) an unbalanced distribution of wealth, locally and internationally, (5) unethical and unsustainable business practices, (6) consequent unethical and unsustainable consumer practices, (7) selective application of ethical principles by rich countries and (8) the absence of norms of good conduct by powerful and wealthy peoples pertaining to sustainable development. Governments, civil societies, academicians, indigenous peoples, communities, businesses and international organizations need to become engaged in the formulation and enforcement of environmentally and ecologically sound development policies along with relevant research, education, training, awareness and a change in social values as provided in the Earth Charter to support actions for sustainable development.


Sustainable development Challenges Strategies Actions Values 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Waseem Ahmad
    • 1
  • Colin L. Soskolne
    • 2
  • Tanvir Ahmed
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Rural EconomyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsForman Christian College (A Chartered University)LahorePakistan

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