The level of economic development at any historical stage is determined by the scientific and technological achievements of mankind, that determined by the development of productive forces, available resources, existing goals set by the world community, or the most active of its representatives. At the present stage, there is a confirmation of a new paradigm of economic development − concept of sustainable development.
Under sustainable development is the development of a society in which the satisfaction of the needs of natural resources of present generations should not endanger the ability of future generations to meet their needs, when the environmental, economic and social components of development will be agreed, when the technogenic load will not exceed the possibilities of the surrounding natural environment for self-healing; and society will realize the superiority of environmental priorities over others.
Ukraine was one of the countries that adopted the main international instruments on sustainable development in 1992 and committed itself to ensuring the transition to the principles of sustainability.
At the current stage, the main factors hindering the transition of the economy to the principles of sustainable development in Ukraine are:
‒ lack of sufficient legal and regulatory framework for transition to sustainable development, passive state policy in this direction of modernization of socio-economic development of Ukraine;
‒ inefficient consumption in the production and life of fuel and energy and other natural resources as a result of obsolete technologies and ineffective control over their use, lack of effective organizational mechanisms for optimizing their consumption;
‒ distribution of ineffective practices of consumption of goods and services by the population, significant accumulation of household waste;
‒ insufficient utilization of industrial waste recycling, slow implementation of alternative and renewable energy.
At the present stage, there is still no generally accepted definition of sustainable development potential.
The economic potential of sustainable development is a system of means of production and production relations, which is dominated by resource-saving and environmentally friendly technologies, types of production, forms of its organization, interests and business strategies, taking into account the needs and principles of sustainable development.
Its structure should include the following components:
‒ resource-saving and safe technologies;
‒ such an organization of production and business, which is aimed at balancing production, social and environmental results;
‒ business philosophy, formed in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.
The social potential of sustainable development is the accumulated potential of the society to provide such economic activity that meets the needs of effective and economical use of available resources, preservation of resource development opportunities for the following generations, support of economic, social, environmental safety and the formation of a self-reproducing integrated eco-socio-economic system.
The social potential of sustainable development includes:
‒ a system of social relations, including social responsibility in all spheres of activity for present and future generations;
‒ human potential, which possesses the features necessary for sustainable development ‒high level of knowledge, environmental literacy, readiness for perception and understanding of contemporary development problems and their solution;
‒ social infrastructure that provides for the reproduction and development of human potential, the development of which must be balanced with the capacities of the ecosystem;
‒ social policy of the state, which creates organizational, economic, institutional conditions for the formation of social potential of sustainable development.
The transition of the Ukrainian economy and society to the principles of sustainable development is possible with the corresponding economic, social and environmental potential, which is possible on the basis of an active and focused state policy.
In this area, the provision has a significant upgrade of the technical, technological, spiritual, cultural, organizational, managerial and legislative spheres.
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