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How do Environmental Changes Challenge the Sustainable Development of Asia?



Abul Quasem Al- Amin, Ferdous Ahmed, Gazi Mahabubul Alam and Mohammad Nurul Azam
 
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ABSTRACT

This study raised the sustainable development issues in Asian developing countries following the broad three dimensions of the challenges on firstly-economic, secondly-social and thirdly-environmental subjects. To have a good understanding of the sustainable development, a delivery of possible scope and action of strategies is communicated in this article for the coherent and efficient progress of sustainable development agenda. In addition, how a possible action such as (1) Equity, (2) Justice, (3) Good governance (public investments in health, nutrition, family planning and education) and (4) Fair-aspiration (socio-political reforms to align with social objectives) are also raised with an operational argument. This study layout why a business-as-usual typical policy and effort is not an appropriate selection as an action to overcome the existing challenges and why fourfold visionised option is essential to rethink to transform a change for the remaining critical issues at the local and national level in Asian developing countries and other developing countries alike.

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  How to cite this article:

Abul Quasem Al- Amin, Ferdous Ahmed, Gazi Mahabubul Alam and Mohammad Nurul Azam, 2015. How do Environmental Changes Challenge the Sustainable Development of Asia?. Asian Journal of Earth Sciences, 8: 1-14.

DOI: 10.3923/ajes.2015.1.14

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=ajes.2015.1.14
 
Received: November 21, 2014; Accepted: February 04, 2015; Published: March 14, 2015



INTRODUCTION

The developing countries are facing three dimensions of challenges on sustainable development and that is firstly economic, secondly social and thirdly environmental (Pretty et al., 2003; Pardev, 2012). The people in developing countries, particularly in Asia are mostly living with income inequality and poverty together with unsustainable production and consumption patterns of resource allocations resulted in huge social and economic disparity (World Bank, 1990, 1995; Wolfensohn, 1995; DESA., 2013). To achieve the sustainable development therefore strategies would require ambitious, action-oriented and collaborative measures to deliver equitable, legitimate and fair aspiration towards further social and economic development (Pretty et al., 2003; Noble et al., 2006; DESA., 2013). Strategies necessitate systemically alter production and consumption patterns of resources, preservation of natural endowments, equity, social justice, significant price corrections and effective economic governance (Wilkinson, 2005; Wilkinson and Pickett, 2008; Galbraith, 2012; Milanovic, 2012; Stiglitz, 2012). However, the fundamental question is-how to overcome all challenges concurrently?

The vision, debate, argument and discussion of sustainable development are not new issues. The researchers and academia are focusing it since many decades and a long ago. In recent years however, the emergence of sustainable development as a new paradigm of development has intensified and accompanied the evolution of structural adjustment programs (Stern, 1991; UNEP., 2006). Consequently, sustainable development has emerged under national, political, social and public pressure and eventually prevailed on the agenda of governments and international institutions in many developing countries (UNEP., 2006). The emergence of new standards for sustainable development due to economic, social and environmental issues reflects the fundamental change of mentality that must take place and the period when the goods and services of an abundant natural environment has given way to an era in which these resources are becoming increasingly confined (Pretty et al., 2003). This change was due to the inability to protect the environmental features of ecological infrastructure and processing of natural resources in income generating activities in the short term (UNEP., 2006).

Two key factors on the issue of sustainable development have questioned over the past two decades for many developing countries. First, civil society, both in the industrialized world in developing countries, has lobbied in favor of government intervention to halt and repair the damage environment. Second, the North and South are engaged in a long debate on the causes of the crisis of development in the South and the assignment of responsibilities to meet development needs (UNDP., 2013). This debate has also extended to environmental problems, so it has changed, at the international level, the profile and priority of remittances and development aid (UNEP., 2006). Despite the strengthening of the capacity of individual countries to manage environmental issues and the implementation of international agreements in the field of the environment, all the evidence suggests that the number and severity of environmental problems would increase in the years to come (IPCC., 2007). Sustainable development must include the fundamental needs of people of current and future generation with equal opportunity and that should aim to improve the quality of life better without harming the natural resources for its recycle (UNEP., 2006). Hence, it is for sure that sustainable development should be a pathway to improve the quality of life for the future generation by considering the welfare of society, economy, equity, justice, fair-aspiration and ecosystem’s limited capacity (UNEP., 2006).

However, the fundamental question is-how to integrate the economic, social and environmental dimension of sustainable development within a cycle of sustainability for the Asian developing countries where mostly people are living with income inequality and poverty together with unsustainable production and consumption patterns of resource allocations. To have a better understanding on the overall dimensions of the sustainable development issues, some outlines of a sustainable development framework are given especial attention (in the following section) as by (a) the economic dimension of sustainable development, (b) the social dimension of sustainable development and (c) the environmental dimension of sustainable development. Moreover, the sustainable development focus on various components in Asian societies is given a prioritizing attention with a provision by an international action (Fig. 1). Thus, there is a required for international action to achieve sustainable development to deliver aspiration towards strengthening social, economic and environmental progress with social justice. There is thus a paucity of examine focusing on Asian developing countries, a need this study tries to address.

Image for - How do Environmental Changes Challenge the Sustainable Development of Asia?
Fig. 1:Sustainable development concept, Source: USNRC (1999)

MATERIALS AND METHODS

This study measured as a transformative change to address the sustained sustainability challenges as several dimensions which are as follows:

Economic dimension of sustainable development: The key issue when assessing the economic dimension of sustainable development is to examine to what extent the adjustment process, long-term productivity and income integration will be becoming stronger in market system (Deaton, 2008). With few exceptions, adjustment programs should help countries to improve, albeit modestly, conventional macroeconomic indicators (increase in total productivity, improving the current account balance, reduction of fiscal deficits) and increasing international capital flows (EU Commission, 2005). These improvements are important steps towards the implementation of sustainable development strategies and are representative of the government commitment to introduce financial discipline and live in not exceeding the levels of national income (EU Commission, 2005). In addition, one of the most important economic contributions of the adjustment process is to remove economic distortions that discriminated against the agricultural sector for several years. If the market agricultural productions increase and diversify in nature (i.e., some case studies show), however, more skeptical about whether small farmers and rural families receive benefit from the advantages of the fresh economic regime.

As opposed to improvements, albeit small, that have occurred in terms of macroeconomic indicators, adjustment programs have clearly negative effects on the creation of opportunities for (vulnerable) poor corporate sectors concerns (DESA., 2013). Less recessions economic upheavals have joined the ranks of the unemployed and partially unemployed, working conditions worsened and led to the expansion of the informal sector in most of developing countries. The short-term costs of stabilization, resulting in damage to the environment, loss of extension services and lower educational and health services, can curb the long term ability of developing countries to increase productivity and employment opportunities, especially for small and medium producers (EU Commission, 2005). Therefore, the functions of the developing states should have changed significantly in the adjustment process in the short-term costs stabilization, extension services, equity issues, unemployment, financial stabilization and other macroeconomic dimensions to fight against poverty and economic disparity towards sustainable development.

However, literature suggests that the functions of some emerging developing states have changed significantly in the adjustment process on economic dimensions to fight against poverty towards a fruitful economic sustainability (Ahmed, 2010). On the positive side, there has to be noted that the role of the state as an agent economy may weakened considerably in areas where it has acted less efficient than the private sector. In addition, the regulatory functions of the financial sector have been strengthened to provide foreign capital a transparent and stable environment they enter national markets. On the downside, it is worth mentioning the significant decrease in the ability of the most developing states to regulate the social costs of economic activities within the framework of the structural adjustment process (EU Commission, 2005). In fact, the reduction of environmental rules and standards designed to protect society from the negative environmental impacts generated by the private sector illustrate this phenomenon. These changes in state functions in the process of adjustment had the effect of delaying the internalization of environmental costs in almost all developing countries. Mostly, the regulatory activities have been found relaxed, the amount of net profit on natural resources that could get diminished, program implementation has been restricted or removed and no effort has been made to integrate pricing price full cost estimates in the cost-benefit adjustment programs (EU Commission, 2005). Therefore, the functions of the developing states how should have changed significantly in the adjustment process is a question mark.

Social dimension of sustainable development: Equity is the primary concern of the social dimension of sustainable development. The primary objective is to allow everyone access to minimum standards of security, rights and benefits, including food, health and education (UNEP., 2006; Sathaye et al., 2009). Equity in terms of income distribution has worsened in almost all developing countries in recent decades, reflecting the difficulty, or sometimes indifference companies to redistribute wealth and productive assets and create new opportunities for low-income and vulnerable people (Ken, 1995). Moreover, the negative short- term policy of spending cuts on social programs hit hard of urban and rural poor, uneducated people that have the most difficulty maintaining their level of life during the upheavals caused by the adjustment process (Torjman, 2000). The social dimension of sustainable development includes minimum standards of security, rights and money to live (Ken and Torjman, 1999). Hence, resources and opportunities should be shared such a way that everyone can have access to minimum standards of benefits rights, security, food, housing, education, health, self-development opportunities and among others (Sathaye et al., 2009). In addition, the principle of social dimension means making sure that everyone has access to education and opportunity to offer society a productive work and fair pay (Ken, 1995). Most studies of these countries have also highlighted the fact that the costs of adjustment touched so wholly disproportionate (UNEP., 2006). Public authorities adjustment programs impose from above without consulting (or almost) society (Mike, 1997). Adjustment programs seem to reinforce the dominant politico economic ranking of countries where they are implemented, strengthening the rule of elites and holding the vast majority of the company out of the process of political and economic decision (Torjman, 2000).

Environmental dimension of sustainable development: The environmental dimension of sustainable development is based on the need to preserve the integrity and hence the productivity of systems and environmental infrastructure involved in the perpetuation of the cycle of life (Adams, 2001; Jabareen, 2008). The main criterion in the evaluation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development is the preservation of the integrity of the infrastructure of a country's environmental systems (Pillay and Buys, 2013). There are a good number of literature indicate that most developing countries have suffered a loss of renewable natural resources due to deforestation, soil degradation and disturbance watershed during the adjustment process (Taylor, 2002; Jabareen, 2008). These trends have worsened during the adjustment process in other preexisting trends have only been confirmed (DESA., 2013). One of the most immediate effects of the adjustment is the increased extraction of non-renewable resources, including oil, semi-precious stones, gypsum, alumina, gold, copper and other minerals. The development of mining, the increase in industrial production and the proliferation of high-polluting vehicles had more and more pressure on the environment (Pillay and Buys, 2013). In addition, economic reforms have played a role, directly or indirectly, in the degradation of soil fertility, reducing the quantity and quality of water resources and changes in vegetation cover. Whatever the regulatory standards before the introduction of structural adjustment programs, the general trend has been to relax to reduce short-term costs of private companies (Reed, 1997).

In most developing countries, the consumption of natural resources to finance macroeconomic imbalances is a key element of adjustment programs. The depletion of natural resources has been encouraged by government policies and accelerated by the poor, who used to survive. The massive use of natural resources has not been accompanied by investment annuity or other income in productive enterprises or developing programs to preserve or recreate the natural resource stocks (Pillay and Buys, 2013). The fact that the makers in those countries have completely failed to take into account the environmental impact of economic restructuring process exemplifies the non-compliance with the principle of prevention (Reed, 1997). With the exceptions, almost all developing countries limited themselves significantly within the institutional infrastructure to restrict the natural resources management (Pillay and Buys, 2013). The application of the precautionary principle is ignoring most of developing countries for the development programs overlooking the future steady stream of income, acceptable natural reserves, social equality and acceptable population levels and effective and efficient environmental policies (OECD., 2008). The implementation are reduced, regulatory standards and national strategies ignored environmental set aside in the face of urgent financial requirements (Pillay and Buys, 2013). Figure 2 indicates the cycle the sustainability based on the concept of sustainable development.

Challenges: The developing countries are facing three dimensions of megatrends such as demographic diversity, persistent inequalities and deeper globalization issues underlying the challenges and additionally environmental and technological trends are putting further of these challenges.

Image for - How do Environmental Changes Challenge the Sustainable Development of Asia?
Fig. 2:Circles of sustainability, Source: UNGCCP (2012)

The deeper globalization and capitalism are influencing and reinforcing income inequality and poverty together with unsustainable production patterns of resource allocations resulted in huge social disparity which reinforces many ways of enormous challenges. How to process to start with the movement towards sustainable consumption with equitable distribution is still a big question mark to researchers, policy makers and related agencies or even for national governments. Therefore, how to regulate and what constitutes make sustainable consumption is a disputable and debatable issue and to date there is no consensus criterions are formed in this regard. Considerable studies have addressed that increased in globalization directly or indirectly accountable for loss of welfare and poverty inequalities (Ayres, 2007; Berg and Ostry, 2011; Rajan et al., 2010; Stiglitz, 2012). The deeper globalization and capitalism megatrends are influencing environmental externalities and poverty in two ways-firstly, industrialization led development causes the environmental degradation that poses an increasing threat to economic growth in the long-run and it has been seen to lead to increase overuses of environmental resources. Moreover, globalization encourages industrialization that overuses of resources and ultimately leading to increase in environmental burden. Secondly, capitalism contributes to a positive and substantial share to regional inequality exposing countries to greater risks for nutrition, hunger and food security and the share rises over time (Al-Amin et al., 2008).

The development progress has been achieved in recent decades by globalization in many developing countries but uneven in nature and increasing in population trends has placed further inequalities (DESA., 2013). The different criteria’s are used to indicate but the scenarios are remaining same for the inequalities in the developing world. Chen and Ravallion (2010) indicate that “The developing world is poorer than we thought”. The recent report by Woodward and Hoffmann (2013) indicates that the number of poor in 2005 was 1.4 billion by using $1.25/day as the poverty line but $2/day indicates that the number of poor is 2.6 billion1. The insufficient employment generation is also causing income inequality in the developing countries2. Financialization and rapidly rising capital flows by economic developments with different priorities, macroeconomic redistribution, fiscal allocation, tax and redistributive, labor and wage-market and other policies had long constrained faced by national policy makers in their use of policy option to lessen inequalities (United Nations, 2012b). According to many empirical studies, higher levels of inequality are related with a shorter duration of economic growth spells and deteriorate prospects for sustained economic growth and wider sustainable development for a longer period (DESA., 2013). Sustaining steady growth in the long-run has shown much more challenging and robustly related to equality in income distribution and it can be threaten to institutional arrangements, political control, unfairness, disparity, caste, ethnicity, gender, hereditary characteristics and ultimately economic stability (World Bank, 2005; Rajan et al., 2010; Berg and Ostry, 2011; Stiglitz, 2012).

Increasing population growth, rapid and malfunctioned urbanization, uneven national infrastructure, health-care problem and rapid ageing with different stages of the demographic transition are further stressing economic stability and sustainable development. The demographic transition heightens the vulnerability toward sustainable development together with globalization, inequalities and demographic changes. The shortfall of targeted nationwide improvement, national development, reduction of employment and eradicate of slum dwellers are found less successful by the least developed countries. Increasing urbanization is also causing additional challenge to sustainable development. Some studies shown that a larger number of populations will be living in towns and cities in the near future in developing countries (DESA., 2013). United Nations Population Fund indicates that the rural-urban migration rate in the towns and cities is about 4% yearly and this migration are driven by searching of employment (DESA., 2013). Many of these migrants live in urban slums and informal settlements are exposed to health risks and environmental hazards which are lag behind the sustainable development agendas (Satterthwaite, 2009).

The sustainable development concept more recently has incorporated cultural sustainability with sociopolitical issues. This new domain considers the “Institutional” and “Good governance” as discourses, material expressions and practices which express interruption and discontinuities of social and sociopolitical meaning. Hence, the new dimension is putting additional concern in developing countries as demographic diversity, persistent inequalities and deeper globalization are already exists that reflect the complexity of contemporary society (Danilov-Danil’yan et al., 2009; Meadows et al., 1972; Daly, 1973)3. Together with the above socio-economic issues, less developed nations cannot ignore the concern such as on (a) Energy, (b) Transport, (c) Agriculture, (d) Manufacturing, (f) Territorial development and recent climate change subject. Particularly, in the developing countries, governments in the sub-national and national levels always face sufficient energy security and sufficient energy supply challenge for the national economic activities to support the provision of social facilities. The demand of transport, agricultural and manufacturing goods increase is likely to more than offset the gains that can be projected from improvements in relation to technological innovation in the West. On the industrial level, environmental management systems are rather lacking to ensure the essential development on sustainable practices. The situation of market failure cannot be also ignored. There are four kind of situations of market failure can arises in the developing counties which may challenge sustainable development such as firstly, externalized related social capital depletion, undervalued of natural capital, information asymmetry and firms not perfect optimizers.

What is the best means to increase agricultural productivity that still behind, regardless of so called efforts over decades after decades have some 800 million people have shortage of basic food in the developing countries4? The demand for food would intensify in the forthcoming decades with population growth. Technological innovation and recent progress has not been reflected in key reductions in poverty and hunger scenarios in developing countries in the past half century. Majority of the chronically hungry small farmers are in developing countries who produce much of what they consume. The consumption pattern and scenarios in the 33 poor developing countries does not reflect the gain or good indicator of sustainable development5. Therefore, overall the increase in food supply does not necessary reflect sufficient condition of sustainable development following the hunger and poverty issues. The modernization is fortunate by the technological innovation but how to make it low-cost and readily available to the poor that are also real challenge for the years to come.

Therefore, there is no doubt that sectoral adjustment process, demographic diversity, technological innovation, disparity, persistent inequalities and deeper globalization, migration and population ageing make sustainable development to difficult in future aspects. How and why territorial plan can contribute to reach the goals of sustainable development is a fundamental question to resolve. Development policies such as reduction of disparities, inequalities and favorable conditions are the elementary and basic objectives for the national governments and policy makers in developing countries to endogenous development and a better balance between rural and urban areas. However, the imbalance and unsustainable patterns between rural and urban areas may result in large differences among territories which national trends often hide. Additionally, climate change also puts challenges on natural resources to be sustainable in sustaining civilization. Additionally, continued population growth, economic expansion and climate changing pattern raises the specter of resource scarcity. According to current scientific evidence and references it may lead to a strong sustainability challenge in the developing counties (Ayres, 2007; Satterthwaite, 2009; DESA., 2013).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A business as usual strategical effort as what had already been placed for sustainability issues, is not an appropriate choice of preference of a way forward, thus it is essential to reconsider to transform a change of the so-called challenges with an applicable transformation plan. The applicable transformation plans, we raised by using the best practices managing for sustainable development. Consequently, the elimination of poverty, income inequality, social disparity, control of unsustainable globalization, promoting sustainable production, uphold sustainable consumption and managing the natural ecosystem are the fundamental overarching objectives to meet the sustainable development for developing countries. A significant price correction, effective market mechanism, strengthening of public spheres of life, commitment to the poorest toward endowments, sharing of profit and employment and overall increase in social welfare are the entails of sustainable development transformation (United Nations, 2012a).

Strategies need to be action-oriented, collaborative, ambitious but practical, to be inclusive and take special care of the needs of the poorest, most vulnerable and taking into account country specific circumstances. United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development provides some guidance to achieve the sustainable development and that can be a basic outlines to work (United Nations, 2012b). However, country specific needs to be brought in front. Changes in transformation and creation of new technologies for sustainability, technological diffusion and adoption at the desired pace can be a good way out. Improved managing of capital flows and macroeconomic regulations are essential and consistency between global decision-making strategies and national development plans are also important to coincide based on country specific positions.

No doubt that the sustainable development challenges in developing countries are four-folds and a way out from it is extremely challenging. Particularly, apart from demographic diversity, persistent inequalities, globalization, limited resources and scarcity issues, developing counties are also facing huge challenges on policy instruments in terms of appropriate framework development between implementation tools and coherent and efficient progress of agenda. We understand that an appropriate selection of key framework, policy-oriented terms and practical tools are the basic way forward to implement appropriate policy. However, the question is how to develop a coherent and efficient progress in the policy instrument key framework. Undoubtedly policy framework should be improved by a transparent, effective and efficient regulatory system and the process of approaches must be realized the interdependent in nature which is one of the critical elements in most developing countries. A coherence national strategy is therefore remaining critical issue to be resolved.

The possible scope and action of strategies for sustainable development must be found as a way forward for the coherent and efficient progress of sustainable development agendas in the developing countries. The possible scope such as (a) “Social inclusion”-by looking at (i) Reduction in income and inequality, (ii) Promotion of social trust and subjective well-being, (iii) Respect for political, economic, cultural, social rights, (b) “Environmental sustainability”-by looking at (i) Mitigating human-induced climate change issues, (ii) Building sustainable and resilient cities, (iii) Ensuring sustainable agriculture, (iv) Sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services, (v) Sustainable materials processes (waste, toxics) in industry and urban areas and (c) “Peace and security”-by looking at (i) Security, peacekeeping and peace building, (ii) Adequate resource mobilization and (iii) Adequate framework for global collective action can be considered as transformative change to address the challenges. In addition, the possible action such as on (a) Equity, (b) Justice, (c) Good governance, public investment in health, nutrition, family planning and education and (d) Fair-aspiration by socio-political reforms to align with social objectives should be considered to address the challenges at the national and local levels (Fig. 3). However, the reform issues cannot be placed by force to developing nations, it should be grown by the country specific necessity to align with prioritize social objectives.

The developing policy decision of possible scope and action of strategies for sustainable development in one country can be linked with regional and global repercussions and as such external repercussions or externality issues should be taken care adequately in decision-making processes. The socioeconomic development strategies should be coherence with national and local development strategies and that should aim to avoid further challenges. Developed countries would offer greater cooperation in meeting global challenges to minimize low-productivity, environmental impact, persistent inequalities, equal human development, equity, justice and unsustainable patterns of resource allocation.

Image for - How do Environmental Changes Challenge the Sustainable Development of Asia?
Fig. 3:Best practices managing for sustainable development, Source: Authors

Developing economies should take the essence from the developed countries that already addressed the issues of unsustainable production and consumption patterns and affordable innovative technologies to pursue the goal of country specific target and catch-up growth plan. Tangible action framework and affordable innovative technologies may play an important role to transform of unsustainable production to sustainable production, unsustainable consumption to sustainable consumption, resource-intensive production to less resource-intensive production and unequal to equitable consumption and wealth distribution from a private to a public mode.

Today’s developing countries have become more heterogeneous than when Agenda-21 was formulated for the sustainable development (DESA., 2013). What has been observed that some developing countries proved successful in some levels of achieving industrialization, exemplifies agriculture with an integrated approach or by developing growth corridor within businesses, government and civil society, agricultural productivity, food security and livelihoods creation, agricultural value chain, per capita income, necessary infrastructure, policy environment and other related indicators compared to developed countries that defined by Agenda-21. In contrast, some developing countries were unsuccessful and overall indicates suggest that even the basic objectives could not touch of the Millennium Development Goals (United Nations, 2011; World Bank, 2012). This diversity among developing countries can be seen a fundamental challenge to achieve the key agendas of the Millennium Development Goals. The unsuccessful of the key agendas is due to policy implementation or other issues are related that needs to bring in the discussions point in priority basis in concerning future efforts for sustainable development. The action policy shows in Fig. 3 should be challenge based rather than to place by power. There must be a good heart-feeling for equity, justice, fair-aspiration and good governance.

Together with the action policy shows in Fig. 3, human development would remain the main focus of developing countries post-2015 initiatives towards sustainable development (DESA., 2013). OECD suggests to undertake the challenges with an operational policy agenda that can help achieve tangible, effective and measurable progress at the boundary between the sustainable environment and economy (OECD., 2011). The suggestion from the OECD should always be welcomed. The transition of developed countries to equitable and sustainable objective would make easier for developing nations a more environmentally sustainable way to pursue their human development goals. Some developing countries have been advanced in implementing initiatives towards sustainability than those of developed countries and hence that advanced developing countries should lead to provide a path in transition to applicable sustainability. Hence, an equitable and sustainable production and consumption patterns of limited resources of a society and economy with appropriate reorganization should redefine of production and the sharing of productivity gains and then the policy decision of possible scope and action of strategies shown in Fig. 3 would ensure a better quality of life for all.

CONCLUSION

The sustainable development and challenges of sustained sustainability in developing countries are not new, Asia in particular. The academics, policy makers, politicians and national governments have been working together for many decades. However, the reality is that sustainable development is not yet to resolve in many Asian developing countries and additionally, the distance of the gap between equity, justice, good governance and fair-aspiration in many cases is getting larger rather to lessen. Particularly, apart from the so-called challenges there is another issue that lag behind is the policy instrument in terms of appropriate framework. The Asian developing countries are mostly incapable to place appropriate implementation tools for the efficient and coherent and efficient progress of national thrust and agenda. Thus, this article raised the sustainable development issues by looking at best practice focusing by an obvious, effective and efficient regulatory system in nature which is the critical element in most developing countries. To have a better understanding and reflection, some possible scope and action of strategies such as (a) “Social inclusion”-by looking at (i) Reduction in income inequality, (ii) Promotion of social welfare, (iii) Political, cultural, social rights, (b) “Environmental sustainability”-by looking at (i) Mitigating climate change concerns, (ii) Building sustainable cities, (iii) Sustainable agriculture, (iv) Sustaining ecosystem services, (v) Sustainable materials processes and (c) “Peace and security”-by looking at (i) Good governance, (ii) Acceptable resource mobilization and (iii) Suitable framework for global collective action has discussed for a transformative change to address the sustained sustainability challenges as a way forward further. The discussions from the raised issues may help concerned governing bodies to delineate the best option for practice in Asia, in particular and other developing countries.

1Representing 47.6% or almost half, of the developing world’s population (DESA., 2013)

2It was the case in some regions in Africa. In addition, a structural change from a primarily agricultural to a modern economy-as indicated by Kuznets is an important driver of inequality in South-East Asia and East Asia

3In this context, the Agenda 21 for culture and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Executive Bureau lead the preparation of the policy statement “Culture: Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development”, passed on 17 November 2010, in the framework of the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders-3rd World Congress of UCLG, held in Mexico City (DESA., 2013)

4The question is not controversial-free, as widely varying positions about the types of inputs and technologies likely to be effective in many cases (DESA., 2013)

5The people of 33 poor countries are still consumes less than 2200 kcal a day

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