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. 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.
Sustainable development is in the news every day as the world copes with climate change, biodiversity loss, conflict and resource scarcity. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and subscribe to our biweekly e-newsletter to stay connected to the global conversation.
Overseeing Agenda 2030—How to Avoid a Repeat of the Commission on Sustainable Development
The High-Level Political Forum is responsible for tracking and facilitating the implementation of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. Two things must happen if it is to be successful.Read More
How and Why the U.S. EPA Is Changing its Policy on Mercury
President Trump wants to loosen the US EPA's regulations on mercury. We explore what the proposed changes are, why they would be a mistake and how they could affect the lives of Americans and even Canadians.Read More
Sustainability and Second Life: The case for cobalt and lithium recycling
Adopting recycling in the mining sector and in supply chains is essential to ensure the transition to a low-carbon economy is responsible and sustainable for the longer term.Read More
Our Sustainable Development Holiday Reading List
Looking for a book or podcast on sustainable development to enjoy during the holidays? The IISD team has your holiday reading list ready.Read More
Making Winnipeg a Smart City With New Technologies
We asked four members of our Winnipeg team how they would tackle some of Winnipeg’s most pressing issues: This is what they came up with.Read More
Biodiversity Conservation: Are we content to fight a rear-guard action?
We have to devote ourselves to working out how nature might be placed at the heart of development to enhance social justice and biodiversity conservation.Read More
Comprehensive Wealth in Canada 2018 – Measuring What Matters in the Long Term
Comprehensive wealth measures the country’s produced, natural, human, financial and social capital.Read More
Estimating Employment Effects of the Circular Economy
This note summarizes some of the definitions of the term "circular economy" and the baselines that have been used for projections on job impacts and growth.Read More
A Force for Action: IISD Annual Report 2017-2018
IISD's annual report for 2017-2018.Read More
A Dialogue on a Just and Managed Transition to a Paris-Aligned Low-Carbon Future
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Oil Change International (OCI) hosted a Chatham House Rule round table discussion on Canada's energy transition in May 2018. This discussion paper highlights key outcomes from this round table for the purposes of informing continuing conversation.Read More