Evolution And Relevance Of Sustainable Development In Global Governance

Khurana and Khurana


K&K is among leading IP and Commercial Law Practices in India with rankings and recommendations from Legal500, IAM, Chambers & Partners, AsiaIP, Acquisition-INTL, Corp-INTL, and Managing IP. K&K represents numerous entities through its 9 offices across India and over 160 professionals for varied IP, Corporate, Commercial, and Media/Entertainment Matters.
Post the new Millennium, the era of sustainable development has redefined itself in an unprecedented way with equally unparalleled gains in global adherence to sustainable development.
India Environment
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.


Post the new Millennium, the era of sustainable development has redefined itself in an unprecedented way with equally unparalleled gains in global adherence to sustainable development. Sustainable development has gone further, now becoming a broader term, which besides the environment, is also has extended to social area. Such a type of evolution definitely covers wider and deeper territories characterizing the notion of sustainable development. By integrating both dimensions of it into balance paradigm of sustainable development the latter is actually transformed from two-dimensional balancing paradigm (between economic growth and environmental protection) into three-dimensional paradigm (between economic growth, environmental protection, and social development). This has now come to replace the old paradigm, which has been accepted as the most dominant concept of sustainable development. Leaders from across the world got together at the UN Millennium Conference in 2000 to agree on a single comprehensive plan that can fight poverty. The visionplanning was translated into this framework of eightSDGs. It must be noted that though it was not the MDGs that were designed as means of sustainable development promotion, it is clear that these emphasize aspects of social dimension of sustainable development, one of which is poverty eradication and protection of public health. With the exception of few states and the number of international organisations having done so, it is almost a diktat among all states to rally together to accomplish the MDGs. The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg Declaration) is sector of the WSSD Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002. This Declaration is therefore a remarkable development in the progress regarding sustainable development, which now, is not simply limited to the environmental sphere but also includes the social sphere. Besides it remembers the changing of sustainable development from Stockholm to Rio de Janeiro to Johannesburg, the addresser also refers correctly to the three says of sustainable development capitalizing and respecting it as the basis and pillars of sustainable development. This three pillars includes socio-economic development, environment protection and economic growth. The Johannesburg Declaration part of 2002, was seen as theses two events as the most crucial one in this direction. Sustainable development initially was created by the environmentalists as their statement but now not only for this purpose but with the believe that it can serve both the society and the environment to do much better. The interlaw association (ILA) passed out a resolution inherently known as "the New Delhi Declaration of Principles of International Law Relating to Sustainable Development" (the New Delhi Declaration) which is a comprehensive list of seven principles related to sustainable development respectively known as "the New Delhi Declaration of Principles of International Law Relating to Sustainable Development.". The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) adopted in Goods Fortune, are Playing and Solidarity (ICFD) were upheld by the Meaningful Development (ICFD) in July 2015. AAAA say that the strategies of national sustainable development that will be held on a unifying basis will be at the centre of efforts toward the achievement of sustainable development with its support for the national integrated finance frameworks. It acknowledges a need for an intervention framework, which is intelligent and holistic, integrating different methods with wide-ranging societal-economic-environmental sustainability. In addition, it makes moreclear who needs aid the most on the basis of environment and it defines the areas that needs sustainable development first. The inscription of the Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which can arguably be the most recent notable evolution towards sustainable development, is likely the most current occurrence. The United Nations General Assembly formally adopted a universal, integrated, and transformative sustainable development plan titled "Transforming Our World: this important landmark "the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" which includes 17 SDGs and 169 corresponding targets, entered the picture on September 25, 2015.1 The adoption of the SDGs marks a universal call to action to end poverty, safeguard the environment, and secure peace and prosperity for all. The Sustainable Development Goals address a wide variety of sustainable development challenges in a balanced and integrated manner, encompassing the economic, social, and environmental components of sustainable development. They also address several "newly targeted" sustainable development challenges, such as climate change, economic inequality, good governance, the rule of law, innovation, effective institutions, and peace and justice. Furthermore, unlike many earlier initiatives, the 2030 Agenda includes mechanisms for universal implementation and evaluation of the SDGs. The SDGs are a thorough and up-to-date definition of the aspects of sustainable development, however they are not an exhaustive list of such characteristics. Today, sustainable development has become an unavoidable paradigm supporting practically all human behaviours and infiltrating the environmental, social, political, economic, and cultural discourses of both the public and commercial sectors from the local to the global level.2 While sustainable development continues to be a "intrinsically evolutive" balancing paradigm in nature,3 it now attempts to achieve a right balance between economic growth, environmental protection, and social development.


Foreign investment has been and continues to be an essential role in promoting economic development in many countries, particularly emerging countries. The legal framework for transnational investment governance is built in part on the IIAs, which provide the majority of binding standards at the international law level. According to the UNCTAD, approximately 3,000 IIAs, comprising BITs, FTAs, and other types of legal instruments, had been signed as of August 2018.4 IIAs must be made sustainable development-oriented in order to ensure that transnational investment activities are governed in a way that is consistent with and conducive to sustainable development. Such IIAs are anticipated to perform a facilitative and promotional role in ensuring that transnational investment activities do not affect the recipient nations' ecological or social development while helping to their economic success. This section attempts to investigate the importance of IIAs for sustainable development, primarily by emphasising the need for and feasibility of developing sustainable development-oriented IIAs and defining the various types and subtypes of SDPs in IIAs.

The necessity for IIAs focused on long-term development

Despite the important role that foreign investment plays in encouraging economic development, not all foreign investment results in long-term development in host countries.5 Transnational investment operations are commonly witnessed in many regions of the world causing major environmental and community damage, and even sparking international disputes and conflicts. This is especially true in countries with a sensitive environment, volatile political and social situations, a developing economy, and inadequate governance.

The international community recognises that transnational investment activities are critical to achieving sustainable development and that there is an urgent need to address the sustainability issues associated with such activities.6 For example, Agenda 21 emphasises the importance of foreign investment in promoting sustainable development, stating that:

"investment is critical to developing countries' ability to achieve needed economic growth, improve the welfare of their populations, and meet their basic needs in a sustainable manner, all while deteriorating or depleting the resource base that underpins development."7

Similarly, Agenda 2030 emphasises the importance of increased foreign investment in achieving various SDGs, such as poverty reduction, sustainable agriculture, gender equality, sustainable energy, country equity, and global partnership.8 Furthermore, during the G20 Ministerial Meeting held in July 2016 under China's presidency, trade ministers from the world's largest economies agreed on a set of non-binding Guiding Principles for Investment and Policymaking, aiming to "promote investment for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development."9


1. United Nations, Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, available at https://undocs.org /A/RES/70/1.

2. Id.

3. Barral, V., Sustainable Development in International Law: Nature and Operation of an Evolutive Legal Norm, European Journal of International Law, 23 (2), 382 (2012).

4. UNCTAD. International Investment Agreement Navigator, available at http://investmentpolicyhub. unctad.org/IIA.

5. See, e.g., Schutter, D. O., Swinnen, J. and Wouters, J., eds, 2013. Foreign Direct Investment and Human Development: The Law and Economics of International Investment Agreements (Oxon, Routledge), p.1; Schill, S. W., Tams, C. J., and Hofmann, R., 2015. International investment law and development: Friends or foes?, in Schill, S. W., Tams, C. J., and Hofmann, R , 2015. International Investment Law and Development: Bridging the Gap (Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing), pp.3-5.

6. See Segger, M. C. C., and Gehring, M. W. and Newcombe, A., eds, 2011. Sustainable Development in World Investment Law (Alphen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International), pp.4-5.

7. Agenda 21, para.2.23.

8. Agenda 2030, paras.20, 1.b, 2.a, 7.a, 10.b, 17.5 and 67.

9. UNCTAD, 2016. UNCTAD facilitates G20 consensus on Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking, available at http://investmentpolicyhub.unctad.org/News/Hub/Home/508; MOFCOM, 2016. Trade Minister Gao Hucheng Attends the G20 Ministerial Meeting Outcome Delivery Meeting, available at http://www.mofcom.gov.cn/article/ae/ai/201607/ 20160701355815.shtml.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More