The Sustainable Development principles are a guide for action within a perspective of sustainable development. They are an original reflection of the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, a fundamental text that affirms an international commitment to sustainable development.
“Health and quality of life”: People, human health and improved quality of life are at the center of sustainable development concerns. People are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature;
“Social equity and solidarity”: Development must be undertaken in a spirit of intra- and inter-generational equity and social ethics and solidarity;
“Environmental protection”: To achieve sustainable development, environmental protection must constitute an integral part of the development process;
“Economic efficiency”: The economy of Kenya and its regions must be effective, geared toward innovation and economic prosperity that is conducive to social progress and respectful of the environment;
“Participation and commitment”: The participation and commitment of citizens and citizens’ groups are needed to define a concerted vision of development and to ensure its environmental, social and economic sustainability;
“Access to knowledge”: Measures favorable to education, access to information and research must be encouraged in order to stimulate innovation, raise awareness and ensure effective participation of the public in the implementation of sustainable development;
“Subsidiarity”: Powers and responsibilities must be delegated to the appropriate level of authority. Decision-making centres should be adequately distributed and as close as possible to the citizens and communities concerned;
“Inter-governmental partnership and cooperation”: Governments must collaborate to ensure that development is sustainable from an environmental, social and economic standpoint. The external impact of actions in a given territory must be taken into consideration;
“Prevention”: In the presence of a known risk, preventive, mitigating and corrective actions must be taken, with priority given to actions at the source;
“Precaution”: When there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty must not be used as a reason for postponing the adoption of effective measures to prevent environmental degradation;
“Protection of cultural heritage”: The cultural heritage, made up of property, sites, landscapes, traditions, and knowledge, reflects the identity of a society. It passes on the values of a society from generation to generation, and the preservation of this heritage fosters the sustainability of development. Cultural heritage components must be identified, protected and enhanced, taking their intrinsic rarity and fragility into account;
“Biodiversity preservation”: Biological diversity offers incalculable advantages and must be preserved for the benefit of present and future generations. The protection of species, ecosystems and the natural processes that maintain life is essential if quality of human life is to be maintained;
“Respect for ecosystem support capacity”: Human activities must be respectful of the support capacity of ecosystems and ensure the perenniality of ecosystems;
“Responsible production and consumption”: Production and consumption patterns must be changed in order to make production and consumption more viable and more socially and environmentally responsible, in particular through an eco-efficient approach that avoids waste and optimizes the use of resources;
“Polluter pays”: Those who generate pollution or whose actions otherwise degrade the environment must bear their share of the cost of measures to prevent, reduce, control and mitigate environmental damage;
“Internalization of costs”: The value of goods and services must reflect all the costs they generate for society during their whole life cycle, from their design to their final consumption and their disposal.
These principles and other comparable ones are integrated into the practices of a growing number of government agencies, non-profit or private organizations and those working in fields such as education (1), business (2), architecture and construction, research and development, management, etc.
They draw inspiration from these principles to improve their methods with regard to access to knowledge, production and consumption, citizen participation and involvement, ecological responsibility, and the ideas to develop new areas of intervention.