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).
Each of the 17 SDGs has specific targets to be achieved by 2030. The goals and targets are universal, meaning they apply to all countries around the world, not just poor countries. Reaching the goals requires action on all fronts – governments, businesses, civil society and people everywhere all have a role to play.
Discover how IISD's work relates to the Sustainable Development Goals using our interactive tool. See how Canadian cities are measuring up in our indicator portal. Or explore our SDG Knowledge Hub, an online resource center for the latest news, original commentary from our experts, guest articles from key actors in SDG implementation, and a calendar of upcoming events related to the 2030 Agenda.
IISD Speech: President and CEO Scott Vaughan at the World Circular Economy Forum 2017, Helsinki
IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan speech from the World Circular Economy Forum 2017 on June 6, 2017 in Helsinki.Read More
IISD Speech: IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan at the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region, Geneva
IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan speaking at the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region in Geneva on April 25, 2017.Read More
Jobs and the Low-Carbon Energy Transition: Perspectives from Cumberland County
This commentary begins in Cumberland County, in Northwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, where new jobs are emerging in the renewable energy sector. It argues that the shifts underway in Cumberland County are representative of a larger transition, as job losses in the fossil fuel industry are replaced by growth in renewable energy.Read More
IISD Perspectives on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
As the Sustainable Development Goals were in the final hours of negotiation in 2015, and in the early days of implementation in 2016, IISD experts reflected on the implications for countries, the UN system, and our own programs of work. These articles, first published as a series of blog postings, are the outward expression of that thought process.Read More
Comprehensive Wealth in Canada—Measuring what matters in the long run
This report seeks to introduce the concept of comprehensive wealth to Canadians and outline why it should be considered an essential complement to the other measures such as gross domestic product.Read More
The Art of Influence: How think tanks make a difference
"We like being thinkers, but we are thinkers with a purpose." Mark Halle explores how think tanks make a difference.Read More
Achieving the SDGs: Can we manage the pace?
The suite of global agreements adopted last year mostly focused on the coming 15-year period. So the question arises—can the intergovernmental community manage the pace necessary for success in the short time frame available?Read More
Supporting the Global Shift to Sustainability: IISD Annual Report 2015-2016
IISD’s annual report highlights our contribution sustainable development through a combination of stories, images and data. Because partnerships are critical to IISD’s ability to affect change, this year we have also featured guest articles from the individuals and organizations we have collaborated with.Read More
Real-World Solutions to Sustainability: Ten examples of how IISD is making a difference
The International Institute for Sustainable Development takes the impact of its work seriously. Here are ten examples of what that looks like in practice.Read More
UNEP and Civil Society: A new landscape for stakeholder engagement in UNEP?
This issue of UNEP's “Perspectives” presents a discourse between Mark Halle and Felix Dodds on the past and future role of civil society organisations and Major Groups and Stakeholders in the context of the United Nations Environment Programme.Read More