Sustainable Development Values: What Do We Know From Developing Country Perspective?

Sustainable Development Values: What Do We Know From Developing Country Perspective?

Farzana Quoquab (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia), Fong Teng (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia), Jihad Mohammad (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia) and Ramayah Thurasamy (Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2912-5.ch011

Abstract

There is a great difference between developed and developing nations' perception about sustainability development values. As such, it is expected that the current sustainable development value facets might not represent the developing country needs as well. Therefore, there is a necessity to define sustainable development value and its dimension based on developing country perspective. The present study is such an attempt to fill this gap in the literature. 16 in-depth interviews were carried out to gain in-depth understanding about the phenomenon. Transcriptions were made and thematic analysis was utilized to analyse the qualitative data. It is crucial in order to achieve the nations' vision and its future sustainable development goals according to the nations need and demand.
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Introduction

Sustainable development value is a set of fundamental values that drive individual’s attitude and behaviour in a way that enables the sustainability for the present and future generation. The notion of sustainable development value (SDV) originated after World War II. It was based on a study from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences to collect aspirations and desire of people around the world. At that point, only human value was identified and not sustainable development value. The identified values are peace, freedom, development, and environment. Peace was identified since the whole world was threatened by the nuclear arms race. The war had been sustained during the cold war and finally ceased and thus peace was difficult to achieve especially in Middle East and Africa. Desire for freedom also continued after World War II in order to end imperialism and totalitarian oppression and to extend the rights of women, indigenous peoples, and minorities (Leiserowitz et al., 2006). Indeed, economic development was the focus after the postcolonial world to ensure that basic necessities are provided to the poorest two thirds of the world. Following this, a global value for the nature and environment finally emerged after a quarter of century (Leiserowitz et al., 2006).

On 8 September 2000, to mark the new millennium, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a set of fundamental values such as freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, and shared responsibility. These fundamental values are known as ‘sustainable development value’ (SDV). These values are essential to international relations in the 21st century since they are likely to guide policy decisions (by international bodies and national governments), organizational actions, as well as customer and user behavior, which subsequently impact the quality of life throughout the world and the preservation of the social and natural environment (Shepard et al., 2009). These sustainable development values underlie 60 millennium development goals regarding peace, development and environment, human rights, vulnerability, hunger, and poor.

Need for Sustainable Development Value

Sustainable development values support sustainable development by translating these values into sustainable development goals according to country needs. As mentioned above, on 2000 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a set of fundamental values which are known as sustainable development values such as: freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, and shared responsibility.

Although these values have been discussed extensively by researcher, nevertheless there is a lack of studies that address these values from developing countries perspective. Therefore, not all citizens of the developing countries are fully aware of the notion of sustainable development value. Furthermore, the notion of sustainable development values greatly varies from country to country, culture to culture. Indeed, there are differences in perceiving these values from developed country and developing country perspective as well.

As such, there is a need to provide a holistic definition on SDV and its dimension based on developing country perspective. This is because the current conceptualization provided by United Nation is defined based on developed country perspective which may not fully represent the developing countries’ needs and demand. Moreover, since economic aspect, technological aspect and socio-cultural aspects differ from developed countries to developing countries, the value, belief, norms also greatly vary among these countries. Therefore, there is a necessity to define sustainable development value and its dimension based on developing country perspective. Accordingly, there are two questions need to be answered by this study:

  • How to define SDV from the developing country perspective?

  • What are the relevant dimensions of sustainable development value that suit developing country perspective?

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