Sustainable development has long been one of the overarching objectives of EU policy. EU leaders launched the first EU sustainable development strategy in 2001 and updated it in 2006 to tackle shortcomings and take account of new challenges. The EU has some of the highest environment standards in the world, developed over decades to address a wide range of issues. European Commission proposed recently the new economic strategy for Europe “Europe 2020”, including three key drivers for growth, to be implemented through concrete actions at EU and national levels (due to European Union policies and activities).
Especially after the financial crisis it is needed much more than before a strategy to comprehensively address long-term issues and lead the economy of every country to stable, balanced and sustainable growth. New sources of growth will have to be supported by investments in infrastructure, innovation and education to facilitate productivity growth, while ensuring sustainable use of resources in a greener economy, within a context of open markets.
It is also the strong requirement addressed to higher education in the area of teaching young generation and adults the rules of good governance for achieving sustainable development goals. Achieving economic and social stability as a global public good requires better governance especially in developing and transition economies. Common principles and standards on propriety, integrity and transparency governing the conduct of international business and finance help promote a healthy and sustainable economic system.
The social dimension of growth is also crucial in this effort, through the promotion of employment opportunities, the creation and updating of skills and the protection of the weakest through appropriate social safety nets and income support.
Sustainable Development is the main objective not only of the European Union Member States but of the third countries in the nearest future as well. The knowledge how to achieve its goals is very important first of all for officials involved in the preparation of sustainable development programs at different levels of their governmental activities: central, regional and local. The promotion of this knowledge by the educational activity is the key factor of teaching in the higher education sector.