Concept and Definition of Sustainable development
Together with the phenomenal technological developments of the 20th Century, there has been a growing trend towards mass production and, mass marketing and mass consumption. This has had a negative effect on the environment, causing increased pollution and practices harmful to the environment. In response, in 1972 the UN convened the Conference on the Human Environment to begin work to address the problems. As a result of the meeting they published the Declaration on the Human Environment, and called for protection of the earths resources. In 1992 leaders from more than 100 countries attended the Earth Summit to address development and the environment. After intense discussions consensus was reached on the need to adopt sustainable development practices and a map for reaching associated goals was etched. However over the next 10 years together with population growth and continuous application of non-sustainable development trends the world’s environment continued to suffer. Renewable resources such as forests, topsoil, and ocean life continue to decline; drinking water quality also took a turn for the worse and poverty continued to be a wide-spread problem. Green technology failed to be effectively applied or transferred and so in order to promote the implementation of sustainable development, in August 2002, the UN met in Johannesburg, South Africa at the "World Summit on Sustainable Development” to address resources, energy, health, poverty, agricultural, biodiversity, and other issues related to sustainable development in a globalized world. As a result, the Sustainable Development Action Plan and Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development were announced as part of the effort to implement sustainable development on a global scale.
The basic concept behind sustainable development is to meet this generation’s demands without causing harm to the next generation. The structure is based on protecting the environment while pursuing economic development and social justice. Sustainable development covers a wide range of issues, including those related to land resources, water resources, energy, agriculture, marine resources, environmental protection, health, education, social welfare, rural development, economic development, science and technology research and development and international cooperation. For Taiwan, which is densely populated, limited in natural resources, subject to frequent natural disasters, and unique in its international political status, the pursuit of sustainable development is more urgent than other countries. As part of its effort to make progress in this area Taiwan’s Executive Yuan adopted policies aimed at increasing protection of the environment and ecosystem, while upholding social fairness and justice, and promoting economic development. The objective was to turn the island into a “green silicon valley”. As part of this initiative, in August 1997, Taiwan established the National Sustainable Development Committee (NCSD). In the following years work the NCSD engaged in a variety of organizational work and continued pursuing goal of promoting sustainable development. In December 2002 the president announced the Environmental Basic Act calling for the National Sustainable Development Committee to take on the responsibility for national sustainable development policies. A few years prior, in 1999, the Agenda 21 Republic of China Sustainable Development Strategy had been formulated to provide a framework for development. Starting in June 2002, with considerations of the present situation in Taiwan as well as global trends, Taiwan began working on laying out a concrete plan for the sustainable development. To help make contributions to this effort, various specialists and academic researchers were invited to hold a public forum to share ideas on how accomplish sustainable development in the 21st Century As a result, on December 21st 2002, the Sustainable Development Action Plan was passed at the 15th Committee Meeting.