The UNDP Human Development Report (1994) focusses on a new paradigm of development that puts people at the centre of development, regards economic growth as a means and not an end, protects the life opportunities of future generations as well as the present generations and respects the natural systems on which all life depends.
Such a paradigm of development enables all individuals to enlarge their human capabilities to the full and to put these capabilities to their best use in all fields – economic, social, cultural and political. It also protects the options of the unborn generations. It does not run-down the natural resource base needed for sustaining development in the future.
Sustainable human development addresses both inter-generational and intra-generational equity – enabling all generations, present and future to make the best use of their potential capabilities. In the final analysis, sustainable human development is pro-people, pro-jobs and pro-nature.
It gives the highest priority to poverty reduction, productive employment, social integration and environmental regeneration. It accelerates economic growth and translates it into improvements in human lives, without destroying the natural capital needed to protect the opportunities of future generations.
The strongest argument for protecting the environment is the ethical need to guarantee the future generations opportunities similar to the ones previous generations have enjoyed. This guarantee is the foundation of “Sustainable Development.”
The World Development Report 1999-2000 emphasises a comprehensive approach to development. The principal goal of development policy is to create sustainable improvements in the quality of life for all people. Sustainable development has many objectives. In so far as raising per capita income improves people’s living standards, it is one among many development objectives.
The aim of lifting living standards encompasses a number of more specific goals, bettering people’s health and educational opportunities, giving every one the chance to participate in public life, helping to ensure a clean environment, promoting inter-generational equity and much more.