Sustainable development

The subject of this study is based upon the concept of «sustainable development». The concept is a continuation of the theory of «noosphere» formulated by the Russian academician Vladimir Vernadsky. The theory and practice testify that the «noosphere» doctrine at the turn of the century proves to be a necessary platform for the development of the «triune» concept of sustainable ecological, social and economic development. The extrapolation of this concept was implemented during the world summits of the United Nations in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro and 2002 in Johannesburg, with the participation of more than 180 countries, and numerousinternational organizations and renowned scientists. Hence, the new concept has united in a system way the three main components of sustainable development in society: economic, ecological and social.

The economic component of the concept consists of optimizing the use of limited resources and the management of material and energy saving technologies. Such management would create a stream of cumulative income, which would preserve — and not reduce — the cumulative capital (physical, natural and human) employed in the creation of this cumulative income. At the same time, the transition to an information society results in the change of the cumulative capital structure to favor human, increasing non-material streams of finance, information and intellectual property. By this time, these streams exceed seven times the volume of movement in material goods. The development of a new, «weightless» economy (the economy of knowledge) is catalyzed not only by the lack and shortage of natural resources, but also by the growth of volumes of information and knowledge which are acquiring their new value of the goods in demand.

From an ecological perspective, sustainable development provides for the integrity of both natural biological and physical systems and ensures their viability. The global stability of the biosphere depends upon it. Special significance is attached to the ability of such systems to self reproduce and adapt to various changes, as opposed to being preserved in a static condition within a vacuum or deteriorating and losing its biological variety.

The social component is oriented to human development, preserved stability of public and cultural systems, and the reduction of the amount of societal conflict. The human being should not be viewed as an object, but rather the subject of development. He or she should take part in the formation of their own life, making and executing decisions, and exercising control over their implementation. An important part in creating these conditions belongs to the fair distribution of benefits amongst people (the reduction of the so-called GINI-index), the pluralism of opinions and tolerance for relations between people, the preservation of cultural capital and its varieties, first of all, of the heritage of non-dominating cultures.

Coordinating a system and balance of these three components is a massive and complex task. Particularly, the interrelationship between social and ecological components results in the necessity of preserving identical opportunities for today’s and future generations to exploit natural resources. The interaction of social and economic components compels achieving a valid distribution of material benefits amongst people and granting targeted help to poor layers of society. Finally, the interrelationship of natural protection and economic factors demands a cost assessment of the influence of technology on the environment.

The solution to these problems is today’s central challenge for national governments, pre-eminent international organizations and all forward thinking people of the world. In this study a new metric for measuring the sustainable development processes (SDGM) in the space of the above indicated three components is proposed and the global simulation of theses processes is carried out in the context of quality of life and security. The indicated metric is developed by the Institute for Applied System Analysis of the NationaSciences of Ukraine and Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.