Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) - logo: link to home page

Sustainable development

Home | Contact Defra | About Defra | News | Access to information | Links | Search | Site A-Z
Homepage > Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development

Quick links

Sustainable Development
Action Plan

Securing the Future -
UK Government
sustainable development

Community Action 2020

Sustainable development
indicators in
your pocket 2005

Latest news

Sustainable Procurement Task Force National Action Plan
The Sustainable Procuremnet Task Force, chaired by Sir Neville Simms, launched its National Action Plan - Procuring the Future on Monday 12 June 2006. The task force was established to provide advice to the public sector on how it can be amongst the EU leaders in Sustainable Procurement by 2009.
New targets launched for sustainable operations on the Government estate
On 12 June 2006 Government launched new targets for sustainable operations on the Government estate, alongside the Sustainable Procurement Task Force Action Plan. Further information is available
Community Action 2020 Programme
Defra Ministers have agreed the next steps in rolling out Community Action 2020, now that the project is entering it's delivery phase. Defra is inviting expressions of interest from not-for-profit, voluntary and community organisations to manage the delivery of the programme. For more information please see the CA2020 pages on the UK SD Government site.
Defra’s Sustainable Development Action Plan published 15 December 2005
Defra and its agencies are publishing sustainable development action plans this month, to show how sustainable development is put into practice... Read more
UK and China sign agreement on sustainable development
Tuesday 8 November 2005 saw the launch of a major new agreement between the UK and China on sustainable development.


The past 20 years have seen a growing realisation that the current model of development is unsustainable. In other words we are living beyond our means. From the loss of biodiversity with the felling of rainforests or over fishing, to the negative effect our consumption patterns are having on the environment and the climate. Our way of life is placing an increasing burden on the planet - this cannot be sustained.

The increasing stress we put on resources and environmental systems such as water, land and air cannot go on for ever. Especially as the world's population continues to increase and we already see a world where over a billion people live on less than a dollar a day, more than 800 million are malnourished, and over two and a half billion lack access to adequate sanitation.

A widely-used and accepted international definition of sustainable development is: 'development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs' - Globally we are not even meeting the needs of the present let alone considering the needs of future generations.

Unless we start to make real progress toward reconciling these contradictions, we all, wherever we live, face a future that is less certain and less secure than we in the UK have enjoyed over the past fifty years. We need to make a decisive move toward more sustainable development both because it is the right thing to do - and because it is in our own long-term best interests. It offers the best hope for securing the future.

Extract taken from the UK Sustainable development Government website:

Guiding principles of sustainable development

The UK Government, Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Administration have agreed upon a set of shared UK principles that provide a basis for sustainable development policy in the UK.

  Page last modified: 14 June 2006
Top | Help | Feedback | Access Keys | Copyright/Terms | Privacy   Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs