Sustainable Development as the Imperative of the Twenty-First Century; Towards Alternative Approaches on Measuring and Monitoring

Lekë Sokoli


In the words of UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon: “sustainable development is the imperative of the twenty-first century.” At this point in the evolution of civilizations and societies, such statements have become de riguer for statesmen and social scientists alike; however, more often the discourse of “sustainable development” does not translate to concrete deeds. And in the case of Albania, even the discourse of sustainable development is lacking. In fact, the progress in Albania is measured almost exclusively through measures of GDP. However, using solely economic indicators, such as growth in GPD, to measure societal progress have been disputed since at least mid-twentieth century and continued to be disputed because such measures do not take into account “welfare indicators,” such as the happiness and well-being of people within a society (see, e.g., Kennedy, 1968; Cameron, 2010). In this paper, is presented a new methodological approach to measuring sustainable development based on the happiness indices of Marks (2011) and Veenhoven (1991, 1995) and the measurement of the ecological footprint (Rees, 1992) of development projects. It is argued that this approach to measuring progress within societies is superior to merely economic approaches because it takes into account quality of life, environmental sustainability, and economic development. Such an integrative approach to measuring societal progress is particularly vital to sustainable development in countries such as Albania.

DOI: 10.5901/ajis.2014.v3n1p105

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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)

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