Third World Centre for Water Management


Sustainable Development: A Critical Assessment of Past and Present Views

The objective of this chapter is to analyse the effectiveness of some global paradigms in the field of water, as well as the possibility of moving from concept to implementation, in terms of improving water management processes and practices. Many concepts are used extensively at present, for example sustainable development, environmental sustainability, integrated water resources management, or integrated river basin management. However, this chapter will focus only on the concept of sustainable development.

In spite of the current popularity and widespread mention of the concept of ‘sustainable development’, its origin is not well known. Thus, a brief review of its origin and its evolution is presented. The analyses show that even though many developing countries have adopted the global views in theory, they still need to strengthen their institutions, implement legislations, develop long-term policies, and build administrative, technical, and management capacities so that at least, significant parts of the theories can actually be translated into effective practices.

Cecilia Tortajada
Chapter of the book Appraising Sustainable Development: Water Management and Environmental Challenges, edited by Asit K. Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada, 2005, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pages 1–17.

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