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Defining Sustainable Development

1.A long-standing distinction exists between civil and political rights and social and economic rights. Is it plausible that one set is more important and should receive priority over the other, or are types of rights interdependent in the sense that they reinforce one another?

2.What is sustainable development and has the term found its way into any environmental agreement? What are the implications of population growth for sustainable development?

3.Do treaties on economic relations operate better from the global or regional levels, or is such a distinction even important? Provide specific examples.

1.Civil and political rights can be defined as that category of rights which are established for the protection of the autonomy of an individual from breach by various social organizations, governments and private individuals. These civil and political rights ensure the capability of an individual for the purpose of participating in the state’s civil and political life without any sort of repression or discrimination. Civil rights include the task of safeguarding the mental and physical integrity, safety and life of people along with protecting people from being discriminated on the basis of gender, race, age, color, religion, ethnicity, etc. and various individual rights such as freedoms of religion, speech, thought and movement.

Social and economic rights are identified and protected in various global and regional instruments for human rights. It includes right to education, right to health, right to housing, right to science and culture and right to adequate standard of living. There is a legal obligation on the member states for protecting, respecting and fulfilling the social and economic rights and are therefore required to take progressive actions in the direction of their fulfillment.

There are various differences between civil and political rights and social and economic rights. Civil and Political rights are implemented with immediate effect by the State Party. Civil and Political rights impose negative obligations on part of the state regarding what state should not do and by keeping a check on the abuse of power. The state does not require resources for the full realization of these rights and the investment is also kept at minimum. These rights provide assurance from fear and are therefore known as human rights.


On the other hand, social and economic rights are also implemented with immediate effect but these are progressive in nature as constant efforts are made by the state for the purpose of improving the content of these rights. Obligations are imposed on state in case of social and economic rights for taking positive steps for the fulfilment of rights. Heavy resources and investments are required for the full enjoyment of these rights. These rights are often considered as an aspiration. (PWESCR, 2017)

The Implications of Population Growth for Sustainable Development

As per the Universal Declaration Human Rights (UDHR), all the rights are equally applicable on an individual. However, various other authorities and States do not consider economic, social and cultural rights as the human rights. At the same time, greater importance is given to the civil and political rights by other states. Such differences in the viewpoint regarding the importance of civil and political rights and social and economic rights have led towards serious discussions on the topic.

Civil and political rights are considered as the first generation right while the social and economic rights are regarded as the second generation rights and therefore civil and political rights hold greater importance in comparison with the social and economic rights (Gjana, 2016). But it is just a misunderstanding that social, economic and cultural rights are not so important.

The United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) clarifies the fact that each and every right is fully recognized and equally important for the life of a person.  However, further analysis of these rights assists in coming towards the conclusion that there some differences in these rights but when it comes to importance or status, there is no difference.

2.Sustainability development can be defined as an organizing principle for the purpose of accomplishing the goals of human development and satisfaction of their needs along with ensuring the sustainability of the various available natural resources such that these ecosystem services and natural resources are available for the future generation without any compromise in their needs as society and economy are dependent upon it.

The concept of sustainable development was also found in the ideas regarding the environmental concerns of twentieth century and sustainable forest management which was further development into a modern concept which was basically derived from the Brundtland Report from the year 1987. With the development of the concept with the passage of time, the focus has been shifted to social development, economic development and the protection of environment for the upcoming generations. However, there is a difference between the word sustainability and sustainable development. The term sustainability is basically concerned with the target goal of humanity of human ecosystem’s equilibrium, also known as homeostasis. On the other hand, sustainable development can be referred to as a temporal processes and a holistic approach which leads towards the ending point of sustainability. However, the idea of sustainable development is subject to criticism due to the fact that non- renewable resources cannot be used sustainably since if the rate of exploitation is positive it would subsequently leads towards the enervation of the limited resources of the earth.

Global and Regional Economic Relations


The term sustainable development has also found its way into various environmental agreements as nowadays the interest of the future generations have been increasingly taken into consideration such that enough resources are left for them. The agreements include The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21- Global Programme of Action on Sustainable Development, Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests, Declaration of Barbados and the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, 2017).  Also, treaties for sustainable development include Kyoto Protocol, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), Convention on Biological Diversity and Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and many more.

Sustainable development is affected to great extent due to the population growth around the world due to the fact that the resources are limited and the basic purpose behind living sustainably means harmonizing the consumption, choice of technology and the population size with the view to survive  within the available resources of the earth (Population Matters, 2017). If the population increases, sustainable development will not provide effective results as the demand and consumption will also increase along with it. Moreover, these resources are unevenly distributed across the globe just like the uneven distribution of population around the globe. Therefore, the resources restrict the total number of people born by the earth sustainably (Rosenberg, 2017).  The population growth will also affect the process of sustainable development as it significantly increases pollution, social friction, health impacts, extraction of a variety of resources including water, firewood, etc. resulting in the exhaustion of city surroundings, traffic congestion and the transformation of farmlands for the purpose of construction of shopping centres, roads and houses.


3.A global treaty on economic relations is an agreement for the trade in goods and services among two or more countries along with the flow of support for investment, innovation and jobs in both the countries (France in the United Nations, 2016). On the other hand, a treaty on regional economic relations refers to the agreement for the interchange of goods along with services among the various area and regions of a country. This exchange is dependent upon the territorial social division of labor.  The international agreements are based on economic relations for the purpose of facilitating the exchange without any disruptions and barriers. (Spero & Hart, 2009)

Differences Between Civil and Political Rights and Social and Economic Rights

For example, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was evolved in the year 1947 for the purpose of expanding the global trade by the way of reduction of tariffs with the basic principle of equal and free trade. The Uruguay round of GATT often resulted in the development of World Trade Organization (WTO) for promoting fair and free trade along the globe. The aim of WTO involves helping the producers of goods and services, importers and exporters in easy conducting of their businesses.

Similarly, the regional economic relations treaty involves European Union (EU) which provides a large platform for trading in order to compete against US along with the emerging markets of India and China. Moreover, The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was created with the goal developing a free trade zone in order to benefit from the transfer of goods by the way of reducing trade and tariff barriers. Also, the Asian- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was founded as a regional trading group by twelve countries on the sides of the Pacific Ocean for liberalizing trade, technical and economic cooperation and business among the member countries (Cali, 2010)


The treaties on economic relations whether global or regional, both serve the same purpose that is the creation of fair and free trade of goods among countries and regions (Kozak, 2014). Therefore, the distinction is just for name sake. The operation of both global and regional treaties in respect of economic relations is equally important.  The global interaction has increased at a fast pace thereby requiring responses from both national and international sides. In cases where a problem cannot be sufficiently addressed by a country, the cooperation at the global level makes it easier to address the issue and somewhere becomes necessary for a country in order to protect its interests (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2018). Treaty on global economic relations helps to control the world market along with an active influence on the domestic markets with the help of various tools. Regional economic relations treaty benefits the global businesses due to the reduced barriers of entry and increased criteria for trade and investment (McKay, Armengol, Pineau, 2005). The companies conducting businesses in one country finds it cheaper and easier to exchange goods between the member countries. (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2018

References

Cali, B. (2010). International Law for International Relations. OUP Oxford.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (2018). Treaty making process. Retrieved January 9, 2018 from https://dfat.gov.au/international-relations/treaties/treaty-making-process/pages/treaty-making-process.aspx

France in the United Nations. (2016). Economic Relations. Retrieved January 9, 2018 from https://franceintheus.org/spip.php?rubrique142

Gjana, E. (2016). Civil and Political Rights vs Economic, Social and Political Rights. Retrieved December 28, 2017 from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/civil-political-rights-vs-economic-social-amnesty

Henderson, C. W. (2009). Understanding International Law. John Wiley & Sons.

Kozak, Y. (2014). An introduction to international economic relations. Tbilisi Publishing House.

McKay, J., Armengol, M. O., Pineau, G. (2005). REGIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION IN A GLOBAL FRAMEWORK.   Retrieved January 9, 2018 from https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/other/regionaleconintegrationglobalframework2005en.pdf?7ac24500beb528b3d89df3374dd5d5df

Population Matters. (2017). What is sustainability?. Retrieved December 28, 2017 from https://www.populationmatters.org/sustainability/

PWESCR. (2017). International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Retrieved January 9, 2018 from https://www.pwescr.org/PWESCR_Handbook_on_ESCR.pdf

Rosenberg, E. (2017). Population Growth & Sustainable Development. Retrieved December 28, 2017 from https://www.enviropaedia.com/topic/default.php?topic_id=198

Spero, J. E. E. & Hart, J. A. (2009). The Politics of International Economic Relations. Cengage Learning.

Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. (2017). Major Agreements & Conventions. Retrieved January 9, 2018 from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?menu=122

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