Managing change that leads to sustainable futures calls for adaptability, innovation, and the capacity to develop effective solutions. Fair and just economic and social development, gender equity, and cultural and religious diversity must form part of any such solutions. IFUW believes that education, both formal and informal, underpins building sustainable futures.
The concept of sustainable development is grounded in the Report of the Brundtland Commission of 1987 that defined sustainable development as development that ‘meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’
Sustainable development encompasses three policy areas: social, economic and environmental. The 2005 World Summit Outcome Document referred to the ‘interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars’ of sustainable development as social development, economic development and environmental protection. If you think of each of these policies as intersecting balls it is at the confluence of the three that sustainable development can be found. This is the visual concept that has been chosen by ECOSC as the logo for the Annual Ministerial Review for 2008 together with the theme, ‘Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to sustainable development.’
IFUW is an organization that aims to bring an interdisciplinary approach to issues, encourages graduate women to use their expertise to bring about change, and advocates the views of graduate women in international forums with particular reference to the education of girls, adult literacy, access and advancement of women in higher education and the empowerment of women as leaders and decision-makers. As university graduates with many diverse areas of expertise, IFUW members are well suited to work with governments and businesses as agents for change, working through education, at all levels, to ensure and safeguard social, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, a vibrant economy, and a healthy environment for ourselves and future generations.
Therefore, the 2007-2010 Programme for Action is asking National Federations and Associations to support activities that will contribute to building sustainable futures. IFUW has chosen to focus on three global areas: Education, Environment & Economy, and Human Rights.