Conference name, dates, place

Third International Conference on Development Studies in Ethiopia, June 18-19, 2005, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Document Type


Presentation Date



Sustainable development is a concept about the relationship between economic growth and the environment. The term was first used in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (also known as the Brundtland Commission for its Chair, Gro Harlem Brundtland). In the Commssion’s report, “our common Future”, it defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development 1987. The aim of this paper is to explore the various dimensions of sustainability from an economic perspective by focusing on issues such as: neglected aspects of sustainability, conflict and inequality, scientific constraints on sustainable agriculture, population growth, the relationship between property rights and environmental sustainability, and sustainable natural resource management. The paper draws policy implications for Ethiopia and the rest of Africa, by reviewing the views of six eminent economists and others on these issues of sustainable development.


A version of this paper is published in the Introductory Chapter of an edited book by the author entitled, The Economics of Sustainable Development, published by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, Kalamazoo, Michigan USA.2005.