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Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky published his book ‘The Biosphere’, a pioneering work of modern
The concept of sustainable development came out of the United Nations Conference on document)
Human Environment held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972... (Summary)
…then it was defined clearly by the Brundtland Commission: document)
“development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs”... (Summary)
...but it was in Rio in 1992 that Sustainable Development came of age. Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration document)
on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management
of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development (UNCED).
Following the conference the UN formed its Division for Sustainable Development (DSD). document)
This is primarily responsible for Agenda 21 and is the secretariat for the UN Commission on (Summary)
Governments: Across the world, Agenda 21 has been taken up widely, particularly by local governments
Businesses: The business world’s response has been patchy and subject to much criticism from campaigning
organizations but of note are: World Business Council on SD and the UN Global Compact.
Shell and Sustainable Development
A key document to look at is: Responsible Energy - Shell 2008 Sustainability Report...
Shell’s Business Principles include contributing to sustainable development, which means helping
to meet the world’s growing energy needs in economically, environmentally and socially responsible ways.
This is about:
Products: producing more cleaner-burning natural gas, working to build a transport bio-fuels business...
Operations: building projects, running facilities and managing supply chain safely in ways that mitigate
environmental impacts and create benefits in the societies where Shell operates.
People: using their expertise, creativity and skill so that Shell can compete successfully and help meet the
Relationships: with customers, business partners, governments, academic institutions, non-governmental
organisations, and neighbours.
“Contributing to sustainable development means consciously balancing short- and long-
term interests; integrating economic, environmental and social considerations into business
decisions; and regularly engaging with our many stakeholders.”
Living Earth in Sakhalin Island
An overview: 2005 - 2009
Living Earth Foundation has been working in Sakhalin Island since 2005 - working with
Shell International, Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC), the British government
(specifically the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Sakhalin State
• Develop the capacity of SSU to act as promoter and facilitator of Sustainable Development (SD).
• Develop the capacity of key social actors in Sakhalin (government agencies, civil society groups, local businesses)
to implement SD.
• Implement practical SD projects based on multi-stakeholder cooperation.
• Contribute to a SD strategy for Sakhalin, based on multi-stakeholder collaboration.
• Assisted SSU in the establishment of a Department for Sustainable Development,
• Delivered training programmes for local government officials and stakeholders of Korsakov on SD,
• Organised a learning visit to Scotland to enable sharing of experiences,
• Facilitated workshops encouraging the development of tri-sector multi-stakeholder partnerships.
Increased capacity of SSU to work with government, civil society
and business on SD issues:
- SSU is working with local authorities in the Tomari and Uglegorsk districts
to develop an SD strategy.
- Korsakov Local Administration have asked SSU to held develop Korsakov’s
2020 Strategic Local Development Plan.
Increased understanding of SD among SEIC staff, particularly among staff based in Korsakov
responsible for stakeholder relations.
- The Korsakov Partnership SD Council is being restructured and developed, contributing to a stable operating
environment for SEIC and the LNG plant.
Increased trust and capacity to work together among key stakeholders in Korsakov:
- Representatives of Korsakov Local Administration and community leaders are collaborating on joint community
initiatives as a result of the LEF-SSU SD course.
- Relationships between SEIC and key local civil society organisations have improved.
Increased understanding among key stakeholders of the
challenges and opportunities generated by oil and gas
projects on Sakhalin
- Improved general climate for stakeholder engagement and constructive
dialogue on the long-term regional future.
- Increased openness in public information and consultation by government
officials, contributing to strengthening the democratic participation of
stakeholders in decision-making processes.
“I didn’t really think that it was possible for oil and gas companies to cooperate with
local government and universities to improve the quality of life of communities; now I
know that it can happen...”
Local government official, Sakhalin
Living Earth and Shell partnership
Living Earth Foundation and Shell started working together in the mid 1990s.
The relationship between the two organisations began when Living Earth approached Shell International to
discuss the environmental impact of its work in Venezuela. Shell’s openness to dialogue enabled a relationship
to develop between individuals in the organisations; this has now evolved into a partnership.
Initially, the relationship was based on individual, independent projects.
Living Earth and Shell have worked together on projects in nine countries spanning three continents. Living
Earth and Shell are currently collaborating in Nigeria, Iran, Russia and Alaska.
Supporting livelihoods in Nigeria Developing community relations in Alaska
A Strategic Living Earth - Shell partnership was established in 2005.
In 2005 Living Earth and Shell signed a Memorandum of Understanding signifying the start of a formal
strategic partnership between the two organisations. Living Earth takes a pro-active, engagement-driven
approach to social and environmental issues.
Living Earth works with Shell to further our own mission of environmental and social development; the
partnership enables us to magnify our positive impact on communities and the environment.
Shell gains genuine business benefits from the partnership as it is able to learn from Living Earth’s expertise
and on-the-ground experience to work more effectively with all sectors of communities, addressing their
concerns and thus alleviating costly delays in operations and avoiding damage to Shell’s global reputation.
United Nations Conference on Human
The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, otherwise known as the Stockholm
Conference took place in Sweden in June 1972. It was the first UN conference to focus the debate on international
environmental issues. It was attended by representatives of 113 countries. The Soviet Union boycotted the
conference in protest against the exclusion of East Germany.
The Conference was effective in drawing attention to environmental problems on a global scale and as a result
of increased awareness generated by the conference, many governments created specific government agencies
dedicated to meeting the environmental challenges. It was also important in encouraging international co-operation
on tackling global issues.
The Declaration of this Conference - the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment
- laid out a set of fundamental principles that recognised the right to a healthy environment and the need for
international action to uphold this right.
The creation of UNEP:
The conference laid the foundations for the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme, a division of
the United Nations established in 1972 which is committed to:
“providing leadership and encouraging partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling
nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.”
UNEP and Russia:
In 2000, UNEP opened an office in Moscow - a sign of its recognition of Russia as a key partner in international
environmental cooperation. The key goals of the UNEP Moscow Office include:
• developing policy dialogue with the Russian Federation authorities on national and international environmental
• facilitating the promotion and implementation of UNEP programmes,
• encouraging cooperation with state, scientific and non-governmental organisations and business.
In June 2009, to mark the annual World Environment Day (another creation born out of the Stockholm conference),
the organisers of Sochi 14 (the 2014 Winter Olympics which will be held in Sochi in the Krasnodar region
of Russia) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNEP. Under this agreement UNEP will assist the
organisers in ensuring that the Games are focused on environmental protection.
Sochi 14 has also joined the UNEP Climate Neutral Network and UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign.
The Brundtland Commission
The Brundtland Commission is the common name given to the World Commission on Environment
and Development (WCED), created as a consequence of United Nations General Assembly resolution 38/161
adopted at the 38th Session of the UN in the autumn of 1983. The Commission, orginally chaired by Gro Harlem
Brundtland of Norway, was established with the aim of promoting international debate and cooperation in the field
of environment and development.
The Brundtland Report:
In 1987 the Brundtland Commission produced their report entitled Our Common Future (often referred to as The
Brundtland Report). This report represents a key milestone in the development of the arguments and ideas that
have shaped the field of Sustainable Development during more than two decades.
Our Common Future presents coherent and comprehensive perspectives on the global environmental, social
and economic threats facing humanity, their inter-relations, and the common challenges we face. The Report’s
final section ends with a call for cooperative action by governments, voluntary organisations, citizens, businesses,
institutes and others to address the pressing problems and challenges described in the document.
At the time of its publication the Report broke new ground in development thinking, and laid the foundations for
public policy formulation and private initiatives that soon became part of mainstream thinking amongst international
organisations, civil society movements, governments and significant sectors of the business community.
Defining Sustainable Development:
Before the publication of Our Common Future,the IUCN Conference on Conservation and Development
held in Ottawa, Canada in 1986 made the following contribution towards defining sustainable development:
“Sustainable development attempts to address five main challenges:
• Integration of conservation and development
• Meeting basic human needs
• The achievement of equity and social justice
• The promotion of social self-determination and cultural diversity
• The maintenance of ecological integrity”
Whilst it is important to recognise that there is no universally agreed definition of SD, the definitions provided by
the 1986 IUCN Conference and the Brundtland Commission have played a very significant role in influencing policy
and debate during the past 20 years. Together, they represent a perspective that lies at the heart of today’s debate
on sustainable development.
A Russian Perspective
The term ‘sustainable’ in Russian:
In Russia, the concept of ‘sustainable development’ is not widely recognised and the phrase does not translate
easily. Below is an explanation of the semantic problems that Russian speakers may encounter:
Английский термин “sustainable” имеет несколько иной оттенок, чем термин “устойчивый” в русском языке.
Глагол “sustain” означает “поддерживать”, прилагательное “sustained” – “длительный”, “продолжительный”.
Второй корень – “able” – это прилагательное “способный”. Поэтому в буквальном переводе “sustainable
development” – это “способный к длительному развитию”. Присутствующий в русском переводе оттенок
устойчивого, т.е. ровного развития в международном значении “sustainable development” не выражен так
Marfenin N.N. Sustainable development of mankind. Moscow MSU, 2006
Russian perspectives on sustainable development:
Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky is one of the founding fathers of the sciences of the environment in Russia. Born in
St Petersburg in 1863, Vernadsky popularised the term ‘biosphere’, laying the foundations for the Gaia hypothesis
of the Earth as a single organism - recognising that living organisms have as much impact on the Earth as any
For academician V.A. Koptyug, sustainable development means “achievement of rational equilibrium of social-
economic development of humanity and the preservation of the environment, and also requires a sharp decrease
in the economic disparity between advanced and developing countries by means of both technological process and
rationalization of resource use”.
Koptyug V.A. U.N.O. Conference on environment and development. Informational review. Novosibirsk, 1992.
Academician N.N. Moiseev considered that the term ‘sustainable development’ should be interpreted as working
out and implementing a social strategy of actions that provide the possibility of biosphere - society balance.
Mankind’s future can be guaranteed only in the conditions of more or less stable circulation of matter (stable
biochemical cycles). Stability of natural cycles is the state of biosphere balance.
Moiseev N.N. Historical development and ecological education. M., 1994. p.17.
In academician A.D. Ursul’s opinion, “sustainable development can be determined as a strategy of manageable,
controllable development which doesn’t destroy nature and provides continuous social progress” .
Ursul A.D.Transfer of Russia to sustainable development: noosphere strategy. M., 1998. p.3á
The Rio Declaration
The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, often known simply as the Rio Declaration, was a short
document produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio
de Janeiro in 1992 - otherwise known as the Earth Summit.
The Rio Declaration consisted of 27 principles intended as a guide to ensuring future sustainable development
around the world.
The Earth Summit:
The Earth Summit was the largest environmental conference to be held, with 172 governments participating in
The Summit acted as an important milestone in international collaboration on environmental issues, as five separate
agreements were made at it:
• The Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development
• The Convention on Biological Diversity
• The Framework Convention on Climate Change, this later led to the Kyoto Protocol.
• Statement of Principles for Forest Management
• Agenda 21
Russia and the Earth Summit:
Many national government policies on sustainable development and the environment were born out of the Earth
Summit. Whilst the concept of sustainable development itself is not cited in the Constitution of the Russian
Federation, the Constitution does recognise the importance of environmental protection and providing for the
The Presidential Decree of February 4th, 1994, No. 236: ‘The Strategy of the Russian Federation on the preservation
of the environment and sustainable development’ includes the following aims:
• To ensure sustainable development and ecological safety in the context of business relations,
• To protect human habitats,
• To restore damaged ecosystems in ecologically damaged areas of Russia,
• To participate in the decision-making processes concerning global environmental problems.
The Presidential Decree of April, 1st, 1996, No. 440: ‘The conception of the transition of the Russian Federation
to sustainable development’ defines the State as a guarantor of political, economic, social, environmental and other
rights and places the Russian State at the centre of the transition process to sustainable development.
Recent laws in Russia which include measures to deal with environmental impact assessment, ecological safety,
ecological audit, and environment protection businesses have had the effect of encouraging a shift to social
environmentalism – acknowledging the inextricable link between man and the environment.
Division for Sustainable Development
The United Nations Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) is a part of the United Nations Department of
Economic and Social Affairs, It acts as the secretariat to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
and is responsible for promoting sustainable development through technical cooperation and capacity building at
international, regional and national levels.
The main activities of the DSD centre around the implementation of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of
Implementation and the Barbados Programme of Action for Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing
Commission on Sustainable Development:
Following the Earth Summit in 1992, the Commission on Sustainable Development was created to ensure the
effective follow-up of agreements made at the Summit and to report on their implementation. The CSD is a high
level forum which meets annually and is made up of 53 member states, of which Russia is one.
The CSD is responsible for monitoring the implementation of Agenda 21.
Agenda 21 is a UN organised programme which was born out of the Earth Summit. Agenda 21 essentially details
a plan for action that needs to be taken at local, regional, national and global levels in order to promote sustainable
Russia is actively involved in Agenda 21; examples of projects implemented through this framework are:
• In the Altai Republic of Russia, municipal authorities are focusing on developing a framework for sustainable
eco-tourism in the region.
• In the Barents Sea Region, local authorities are focusing on developing communal housing, and promoting
biodiversity conservation and environmental education.
UNDP Russia is working in partnership with local government agencies to implement these projects.