policies and Sustainable Development: The Freedom of Strategies

Mendez, Paola (2009). "policies and Sustainable Development: The Freedom of Strategies" Paper presented at the 6th annual conference of the HDCA, 10-12 September 2009, Lima, Peru.

The objective of this paper is to analyze how energy impacts sustainable and social development and how important is to clarify the relationship between social aspects and energy at the household level. To do so, we will take as basis the concept of development as freedom and the concepts define by the Brundtlandt report1. This will help us to clarify how energy sustainable policies should look like and what issues must be included when designing national energy policies. Sustainable Development as defined by the Brundtland report focuses on meeting needs of the current generation without compromising the possibilities of the future generation. However this is not the only condition for Sustainable Development mentioned in this report. In this way, not only the discussion of needs fulfillment as a central part of SD should be consider when discussion about sustainable development but also the other social concepts of SD also mentioned in the Brundtland report as •Extending to all the opportunity to fulfill their aspirations for a better life. •Ensure that the poor get their fair share of the resources. •Assure more equitable access to resources. All these concepts are closely related to the Sen´s capability approach since, the capability approach emphasizes everybody’s freedom to choose their own life as a goal for development. The way persons live their lives is a continuous set of decisions which are made everyday and according to the available options. Taking the definition Rauschmeyer (2008)2 made about needs; we should consider that people choose among different strategies to fulfill their needs continuously which influence their development path. The strategy chosen to fulfill a need may impact the quality of life of a person’s life, it is not the same to have access through tap water than walking hours to get water from a well. Thus, we may link the concept of development as freedom with the daily aspects of decision strategies within a sustainable development framework. In order to define what should be taken into account when designing an energy sustainable policy at the local level, an analysis to the interaction between strategies, needs, options and social impacts is needed. Is Energy an essential need as Brundtland report declares or should it only be consider as a strategy following the definition of Rauschmeyer (2008). Secondly, how impacts energy strategies to the social aspects of development and what should take in account a sustainable energy policy. This forces us to include concepts as inter and intra generation equity, vulnerability from an energy social perspective.
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