De geboorte van het concept duurzaamheid | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 132 Number 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



Sustainable development is one of the key political issues on the international agenda. The concept emerged in the 1970s and was shaped by nature conservation experts who worked for international organisations like IUCN and UNESCO. These experts developed and introduced three influential albeit different interpretations of sustainability – focusing on the preservation of ecosystems, social equity and participation, and the conservation of biodiversity. In the 1980s and 1990s, these competing definitions struggled for hegemony and, in due course, all found their way to the international agenda. This article shows that the sustainability concept as we know it today is not stable, but rather the result of a complex evolution and a decades-long struggle.


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