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The Politics and Ethics of "Sustainability" as a New Paradigm for Public Policy Formation and Development Planning (I)

IJED, Vol. 3 No. 3, (2001)

International environmental regimes represent one of the most important developments of the global agenda in recent years, bringing to the forefront of international relations different dimensions to the traditional concepts of governance and sovereignty. Likewise, environmental regimes have enshrined important and unprecedented principles for international cooperation, such as the “polluter pays” and the “precautionary” principles. This essay represents an attempt to analyze the evolution of “sustainability as” a result of the environmental global debate since the UN Conference held in Stockholm in 1972. First, it will be introduced what could be taken as the roots of environmental regimes and their reference to the emergence of a new development paradigm, that of "sustainability". The meaning of sustainability for public policy formation, as well as for distinct social actors involved in development policies will be then scrutinized against this backdrop, particularly the ethical implications of it. Finally, the paper suggests possible threats and opportunities posed to emerging actors by globalization and environmental regimes in the political realities of the Latin American region.

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