The principle of sustainable development in the last three decades has reached a pivotal role in international and national policies at the crossroads between economic development, social development and environmental protection. However, it is now at a crucial turning point, which has been determined by the concurrent occurrence of three independent, and yet concatenate events, which have happened in a short period of time, during 2015:
1) the re-launch of the ethical dimension (due to Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter Laudato Sì - On care for our common home);
2) the approval of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which dictates the global agenda for the promotion of sustainable development patterns for the next fifteen years;
3) the conclusion of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which recognises the need to integrate climate change and sustainable development considerations, in particular with a view to promote the increase of climate change related international investments.
On the basis of these recent factors, sustainable development is now at the centre of the scene and cannot hide itself any longer. As a consequence, the next few decades will be crucial to determine its success or its failure. No mid-solution seems to be possible. Therefore the question to be answered is essentially the following one: has the time finally come for the renaissance of the concept of sustainable development, aiming at its full and meaningful application, after so many years of uncertainty about its effective role, or the concept, despite the short and intense glory that it may experience in the next few years, is destined in the medium-long term to the sunset boulevard?... (continues)