Pathways to sustainability in Central and Eastern Europe: practices, policies, and discourses

  • Mihai Varga
  • Justyna Stypińska


Sustainability - a global buzzword in policy making - has drawn as much interest as criticism (Nebbia, 2012; Turcu, 2012). First and foremost it drew criticism for its vague and elusive meaning and lack of clear definition. Even the emerging sustainability science admits to weaknesses in building sound theoretical and methodological paradigms (Anderson, Teisl, & Noblet, 2016). The commonly acknowledged definition of general sustainability (including its three pillars – ecologic, economic and social) invokes a vision of human welfare that takes into consideration inter- as well as intra-generational equity, and which does not surpass the limits of Earth’s natural resources. In other words, it is a vision of a society which does not live at the expense of future generations (Passerini, 1998). In 1987 the seminal report “Our Common Future”, or else Brundtland Report, defined sustainable development as development, which "... meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (World Commission on Environment and Development [WCED]1987:43). Since then, it has been adopted by most international organizations and nation states in programming their policies towards sustainable development and the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 only confirms this direction.

Author Biographies

Mihai Varga

PhD, researcher and lecturer, works at East European Institute at the Free University in Berlin, Germany

Justyna Stypińska

PhD, researcher, works at East European Institute at the Free University in Berlin, Germany