As the environmental crisis broke, with major consequences upon global balances, being determined by the greenhouse effect, ozone-layer depletion, over-exploitation of the fossil fuel resources and of the seas and forests, biodiversity reduction and, at the same time, with the break of a major social crisis that manifests through an unequal distribution of the resources, increased gap between the rich countries and the poor ones, there appeared the need to establish a new type of development, sustainable development. It has as major objectives: environmental protection, economic development, social equity.
The concept of "sustainable development" evolved in time, being dependent on the dysfunctions that were generated by anthropogenic activity which had an impact on natural environment and on the social and territorial balances.
Two things determined this tendency: firstly, the reckless exploitation of fossil fuels, non-renewable resources that have been accumulated in hundred millions years and were used up in just two centuries, often until the resources were completely finished; this disturbed earth's climate and, secondly, the increase in population, with over five times, during the same period of time, and all the contrasts and disparities that resulted, especially in the 19th century, from local level to the two World Wars.
This was the background upon which the concept of "sustainable development" appeared and developed, having a material definition--that refers to resources, a group of resources and an ecosystem, as well as a social and economic one (Beroutchavili, Chauke, Sanchez, Crispin 2004).
The evolution of the concept and its application revealed its variety that is manifested in the tens of definitions it got until the first half of the 9th decade of the previous century. Some of the definitions are included below:
--"a doctrine that ensures a continuity in time for development and progress" (Ruckelshaus 1989);
--"sustainability refers to the ability of a society, ecosystem, or any such on-going system to continue functioning into the indefinite future without being forced into decline through the exhaustion or overloading of key resources on which that system depends" (Gilman 1992);
--"a sustainable community effort consists of a long-term, integrated, systems approach to developing and achieving a healthy community by jointly addressing economic, environmental, and social issues" (Lachman 1997).
These are just a few definitions of the concept. All definitions have the same main idea, of sustainable development, time and space. Sustainable development could be defined as a complex relationship among three essential issues, leading to equity in the distribution of resources, sustainability and feasibility of development in the spirit of environmentalism. There are three principles of sustainable development, namely:
--the principle of solidarity in an integrated approach, that extends from a global scale to a local one;
--the principle of participation that emerges from a global awareness on the issues concerning the environment, following the adoption of a Global Plan of Action (during the Rio Summit 1992) that resulted in the Agenda 21;
--the principle of prudence by which strategies with threefold impact (environmental, economic and social equity) are sought (Cianga, and Patrascu 2006).
In order that all these are established, there were several successive stages that were marked by United Nations Conferences that focused on the environment, namely the one held in Stockholm, in 1972 and, especially that held in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992. They advanced programs, declarations and plans of actions (Rio Conference advanced Agenda 21--a Program for Sustainable Development in the 21st century) and they established the organization of a Commission for Sustainable Development. …