Agenda 21:
The Agenda 21 is the United Nations' programme to implement the principle of sustainable development at global, national and local level. It was formulated at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
Biocapacity (or biological capacity) is the capacity of ecosystems to produce useful biological materials and to absorb waste materials generated by humans using current management schemes and extraction technologies (WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature 2012). It is expressed in units of global hectares.
Biologically productive earth surface:
Biologically productive area is land and water (marine and inland) areas that can be used in a meaningful way by humans. Non-productive and marginal areas such as arid regions, open oceans, ice-fields, and other areas of low productivity are not included.
Earth Summit:
Earth Summit is the name given to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development since the Rio conference in 1992. The second Earth Summit was held in Johannesburg in 2002. The third and next earth summit is going to be held in 2012 (Rio +20) and it will take in Rio again (see
Ecological Footprint:
The ecological footprint is a measure of how much biologically productive land and water area an individual, a city, a country, a region, or humankind uses to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste it generates, using prevailing technology and resource management.
Economic efficiency:
Efficiency of economic and technological activities, fostering investment and productivity, economic growth, economic output potential.
Environmental degradation:
Environmental degradation refers to the decreasing of a local ecosystem or of the biosphere as a whole as a result of human activity. Environmental degradation occurs when natural resources are being consumed faster than nature can replenish them or when polluting activities or even natural disasters destroy these resources.
Environmental responsibility:
The ability to use natural resources without undermining the equilibrium and integrity of ecosystems, and to reduce the burden on the environment. Environmental sustainability is achieved when the productivity of life-supporting natural resources is conserved or enhanced for use by future generations. (DFID)
Despite differences of opinion on the forms it may take or the normative value of its outcomes, globalisation is defined as the growing interdependence of countries worldwide through increasing volume and variety of cross-border economic transactions, free international capital flows, and more rapid and widespread diffusion of technology as well as political and cultural patterns.
Human Development Index (HDI):
A composite of several social indicators that shows the level of development by considering the progress made towards greater human capabilities and choices.
A hybrid defines something that is made from different elements. In the science studies the word is used as a concept to qualify things or problems, which are neither strictly natural nor strictly social. It is increasingly used in relation with human caused environmental problems.
Kyoto Protocol:
The Kyoto Protocol is the name of a protocol signed in December 1997 in Kyoto to amend the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The aim of the protocol is to lower the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse effect gases. It demands that industrialised countries reduce their emission of greenhouse gasses to an average of five per cent compared to 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012 (see Developing countries are not forced to reduce their emissions. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force in February 2005.
Local Agenda 21:
Local Agenda 21 are local initiatives taken at sub-national government levels (usually municipalities) to implement the principles of the Agenda 21 (see Agenda 21)
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):
The MDGs are a set of 8 time-bound goals to reduce poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women by the year 2015. They were agreed upon by the world's leaders at a special United Nations assembly in September 2000 to mark the turn of the century.
Social solidarity:
Equality of opportunities for people, involving welfare, quality of life and sustainable human development. Development should liberate individual capacities and human needs, thus ending poverty and improving individuals' quality of life, offering them a secure life with full rights and liberties in the long term, and social cohesion.
Something is sustainable when it can continue into the future, coping with and recovering from stresses and shocks, while not undermining the resources from which it draws its existence. These resources may be natural, social, economic or institutional, which is why sustainability is often analysed in four dimensions: economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, institutional sustainability and social sustainability. Sustainability does not imply that there is no change, but that there is an ability to adapt over time. (Department for International Development DFID)
Sustainable Development:
According to the Brundtland Report (WCED, 1987) sustainable development is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". It is also often defined as a development that keeps the economic, social and environmental spheres in balance.
Transdisciplinarity refers to the ability to do research work that crosses scientific disciplinary boundaries and includes the production of data through collaboration with the public and the making available of research results that are relevant to the public.

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