“Sustainable development has emerged as the preferred way of dealing with rapid degradation of the natural environment since the mid 1970.” [Robert Potter, Tony Binna, David Smith. Introduction to development studies, 2008. Prentice Hall]. Many scholars have however come up with different definitions of sustainable development that it is different to single out one as the agreed definition. To understand the concept better it is necessary to trace the history of sustainable development. Sustainable development was originally closely associated with sustainability and is often still used that way. In attempting to define the sustainable development, it is important that we first look at each of the two words. “Sustainability” and “Development” separately so as to get a clear understanding of the two terms combined.
SUSTAINABILTY is defined as the capacity to maintain, support or endure. [Oxford English Dictionary.2013]. Sustainability can also be defined as an ability or capacity of something to be maintained or to sustain itself [Hecht, 2008]. On the other hand, development is a complex issue with many different and sometimes contentious definitions. A basic perspective equates development with economic growth. Development is a dynamic concept which means different things to different people [Smith, 2003]. Development is derived from the word to develop. ["Sustainable Development” Antiessay. 18 Oct. 2013]. To develop can mean to progress, evolve, unfold, improve or to advance. Development is the process of improving the well-being of the people [S[Sapru, 1994]It is about raising the standard living of the people, improving their education and health, and also exposing them to new and equal opportunity for a richer and a better life. Development therefore; is improvement. Development is the process of economic and social transformation that is based on complex cultural and environmental factors and their interactions. [Business Dictionary,…