Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs

About sustainable development


The expression sustainable development, or “développement durable” in French, appeared for the first time in 1980 in World Conservation Strategy, published by The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It became better known a few years later in the wake of the 1987 release of Our Common Future (also called Brundtland Report, named after the commission’s chair Gro Harlem Brundtland) by the World Commission on Environment and Development (now the Brundtland Commission). Today’s recognized definition is taken from the report: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

In its Sustainable Development Act, Québec adopted a definition of sustainable development that places the emphasis on method with particular insistence on a significant level of sustainability: our ability to cross over the disciplinary boundaries and appreciate our actions overall. In Québec, “sustainable development means development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development is based on a long-term approach which takes into account the inextricable nature of the environmental, social and economic dimensions of development activities.”


Rethinking the relationships humans have with each other and with nature is an aspiration that a growing number of men and women share. It is a critical look at a development mode that all too often damages the environment and relegates the majority of humanity to poverty. Sustainable development stems from the idea that the status quo is no longer possible, that the shortcomings of a development model based solely on economic growth must be remedied by reconsidering our methods and taking new priorities into account. We must therefore:

Maintain environmental integrity to ensure the health and security of human communities and life-sustaining ecosystems.

Ensure social equity to enable the complete fulfillment of all men and women, development of communities and respect for diversity.

Aim for economic efficiency to create an innovative and prosperous economy that is ecologically and socially responsible.

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