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.
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
Global Value Chain Policy Series: Environment
This paper, part of the Global Value Chain Policy Series, examines questions that arise at the intersection of environmental sustainability and global value chains.Read More
Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation: Why SDG 9 matters and how we can achieve it
With half the world now living in cities, and billions of dollars spent each year on growth and infrastructure, we need to finance and implement sustainable infrastructure practices that reduce our environmental footprint, employ clean technologies and are economically viable.Read More
How the Energy Charter Treaty Could Have Costly Consequences for Governments and Climate Action
Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder explores the current status of the Energy Charter Treaty, and why now, more than ever, it deserves far more public attention and scrutiny.Read More
IISD Speech: President and CEO Scott Vaughan at Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Fun, Profit and Saving the Earth event
IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan spoke to nearly 400 business leaders about how transitioning to a green economy can help Winnipeg weather climate change.Read More
Healthy Lives and Well-being for Everyone: Why SDG 3 matters and how we can achieve it
Creating a sustainable world—and reaching economic, environmental and social goals—depends on having a thriving and healthy human population. We explore how Sustainable Development Goal 3 plans to achieve that.Read More
Big Data for Resilience Storybook
The Big Data for Resilience Storybook explores the links between Big Data and resilience building through the experiences of seven international organizations.Read More
Progressing national SDGs implementation: An independent assessment of the voluntary national review reports submitted to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2017
The report identifies ten key pillars that we believe are essential to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable DevelopmentRead More
Indigenous Protected Areas, a Way to Meet Human and Environmental Challenges?
This commentary examines Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) and their growing importance in recognizing the rights of indigenous societies and safeguarding biological diversity.Read More
From Bali to Marrakech: A decade of international climate negotiations
This book builds on IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) coverage of a decade of climate change negotiations from the meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bali, Indonesia in 2017 to Marrakech, Morocco in 2016.Read More