The formulation and implementation of sustainable development strategies : general approaches and a case study of Kuwait
Since the publication of Bruntland report in 1987 and the world leaders meeting at the Earth Summit at Rio in 1992, the international community has paid more attention to the importance of formulating strategies for sustainable living and conservation of the environment. The concept of sustainable development is not simply about needs and environment. It involves various aspects of development such as health, education, environmental protection, biodiversity and political freedom. Sustainable Development Strategies (SDS) enable countries to act on the basis of understanding how environmental, social and economic problems relate to each other and can be solved. Many SDS were formulated world wide but were not successful, especially in developing countries. Formulating an effective SDS is a key approach to achieve sustainability. It should consider important factors such as practicality, feasibility of objectives, flexibility, committed leadership that understands the real meaning of development and sound implementation and monitoring of the strategy. SDS aims to improve and integrate existing cost benefit, planning and environmental management tools such as CBA, Land-use Planning, EIA, SEA, Sustainability Indicators and using Planned Social Change approaches to change people's attitudes towards development. Kuwait has a unique democratic system compared with the Arabian Gulf Countries and its people enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. However, it faces major social, administrative, economic and environmental problems. Examples of these include high dependency on expatriated labour, high expenditure and consumption rates, waste management problems, inadequate land-use planning and weaknesses in enforcing laws and regulations. Kuwait also depends on oil as its major source of income and existing industrial activities are mainly related to the oil sector. In order to achieve sustainable development in Kuwait, it is important to consider formulating an adequate strategy for sustainable living. To achieve such a goal decision makers must identify clear objectives. Then all major social, economic, environmental and institutional problems and obstacles that obstruct achieving sustainability should be identified. Afterwards, alternatives are proposed and courses of actions are selected then implemented and monitored. To achieve this, a will of change must be present in the minds of the decision makers so that present and future generations have a better quality of life.