Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report:
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Sustainability is the foundation for today’s leading global framework for international cooperation—the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The 17 SDGs were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, with 169 targets to reach by 2030. The goals and targets are universal, meaning they apply to all countries around the world, not just poor countries.Learn more Explore the SDG Knowledge Hub
Reaching the goals requires action on all fronts—governments, businesses, civil society, and people everywhere all have a role to play.
To find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals, explore our SDG Knowledge Hub—an online resource center for daily news, original commentary from our calendar of upcoming events related to the 2030 Agenda.
IISD's focus areas
IISD is guided by five priorities that we deem ripe for transformation, where shifts in policy have the potential to change the nature of the game within this decade.
Build the capacity to act together on sustainability.
Address the causes of climate change and adapt to its impact.
Foster fair and sustainable economies.
Deliver insights that spark action on sustainable development.
Support the sustainable management of our natural resources.
Sustainable development is in the news every day as the world copes with climate change, biodiversity loss, conflict and resource scarcity. Be the first to hear what's new, and learn about the latest research, events and more.Twitter Facebook Newsletter
Measuring Progress Towards Sustainable Development Goals
Building on an initiative led by Colombia and Guatemala, governments represented at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development provided a mandate for launching an intergovernmental process to identify sustainable development goals (SDGs).The process to develop the SDGs will run over a period…
Sustainable Communication: How communication technology and the internet create both opportunities for and threats to sustainable development
Do we need to rethink Sustainable Development Goals?The internet and ICTs are changing the parameters of sustainability by creating opportunities and threats that simply did not exist when the 1987 Brundtland Report and the 1992 Earth Summit put sustainable development on the international agenda…
Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP): Targets and Indicators and the SDGs
The United Nations and its Member States are currently crafting a post-2015 development agenda to build on the Millennium Development Goals.Outcomes of previous UN Summits, including Rio+20 in 2012, have shown that the objective of shifting to sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns…
Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Through Transformative Governance Practices and Vertical Alignment at the National and Subnational Levels in Africa
SDplanNet is a sustainable development planning network created to help government professionals at the national and subnational levels share best practices and build capacity in the preparation and implementation of sustainable development strategies and inclusive green economies.It will act as a…
Sustainable Development Goals at the Subnational Level: Roles and good practices for subnational governments
As underlined widely in research on governance for sustainable development, the subnational level plays a key role in implementing sustainable development policies, including the goals and (possibly) targets they comprise.This implementation applies to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and…
Capacity-Building Courses for Integrating Sustainable Development into Policy Planning and Implementation
The objective of this briefing note is to assess the current status of capacity-building efforts by international organizations on sustainable development planning and implementation.In particular, it covers the types of courses that are being provided, the distribution of these courses, and…
Down to Earth Podcast
This podcast asks questions about the sustainability challenges facing our planet today and then tracks down experts to help answer them.
How to Deal with Climate Change Without Getting Depressed
This episode explores the impacts of climate change on mental health, and what we can do about it.
How to Turn Fast Fashion into Sustainable Fashion
This episode is about sustainability in the clothing industry and how years of over-consumption and unsafe manufacturing has led to a counter-industry striving to do better.
How Farmers in Zanzibar Are Tackling Climate Change From the Ground Up
This episode reveals how farmers on a small island off Tanzania are finding creative ways to regenerate the local ecosystem and adapt to climate change.