Campaign for Sustainability: Federal agencies

Campaign for a National Sustainablility Strategy

Sustainability in the federal agencies

To have meaning and impact, the National Sustainability Strategy needs to be rooted in the relevant federal departments and agencies. What efforts have been made in the past to integrate sustainability principles and values into these institutions? What are the current efforts now taking place? What are the prospects, obstacles, and challenges within the agencies to help move America towards sustainability?

In some cases the concept of "sustainability" appears to be taken seriously, based on the Brundtland definition to broader understandings and applications. In other cases, the term "sustainable" is often used to simply mean "durable" or "strong" with no substantive reference to its ecological or social concerns (e.g., "building sustainable human capacity" or ensuring the "sustainbility" of programs for HIV/AIDS relief). "Sustainability" has been used as a synonym for organizational viability, as in USAID's NGO Sustainability Index as well as the strength of body armor and survivability of soldiers.

Clearly the concept of "sustainability" requires some serious evaluation and rethinking in such applications, especially if it is to provide an effective means to address the country's overall future.


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