The radical differences between the Concept of Sustainable Development and the economic growth industrial paradigm is that it demands that modern civilization, with its production basis, replaces its expansive natural resource use with the need to accommodate the biosphere, observe its laws, and take into account its prohibitions and limitations.

The fundamental principles of sustainable development were outlined in the Declaration and other documents of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), the 19th Special Session of UN General Assembly (New York, 1997), and adapted in several national sustainable development strategies in later years. Their principles can be assessed using the following categories.

The anthropocentric principle: care of man, protection of his rights for a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature and society in an environment that is favorable for him. This principle defines world power co-operation in rooting out poverty, and standard of living and human need satisfaction disparities as the necessary sustainable development condition.

The comprehensive principle: the sustainable development model encompasses the interests of saving nature, social justice and care for the future.

The saving principle: human survival depends on the rate of transition to new economic activity methods and forms: resource saving, energy saving and health saving, which could be based on science-based technologies and implemented by the motivation of decision-makers.

The principle of the rational use of natural resources requires: harm-free management of renewable natural resources, efficient use of non-renewable ones, and their optimal consumption; finding alternative sources; timely waste disposal and safe burial.

The principle of prevention of going beyond the limits of ecosystem economic capacity concerns, in particular, limiting the use of economically unaffected parts of the planet’s landmass and the World Ocean.

The security principle requires carrying out safe economic activity and minimizing its social and environmental risks.

The prevention principle includes precautionary and preventive action in the event of serious and irreversible environmental danger, prevention of man-made disasters and emergency situations, carrying out health and safety measures, and preventing other global problems (the economic efficiency principle is consciously decentred in this case).

The sovereignty principle is one of the most content-extensive sustainable development principles. It encompasses three activity, process and relationship types. First, it establishes the right of states to define their national natural resource management policy, and exploration, in accordance with the policy, of the state’s resources. They are required by the international community to ensure the environmental safety of their activity vis-à-vis other countries. Second, it protects international trade against hidden restrictions and discrimination based on arbitrary environmental protection measures. Third, it forbids conscious “importing” of hazardous activity from one country to another.

The justice principle establishes equal development rights for current and future generations, and between all countries of the world without exception..

The synergy principle requires all countries to interact in the transition to sustainable development, and appropriate strategy implementation, in their economic, political-legal and social systems. It also implies the global unification of effort in learning about the world, global problems and their solutions. In particular, it talks about scientific-technical information, research findings and technology exchange, including innovations. This co-operation must acquire a global partnership character.

The captivity principle relates to environmental legislation regarding environmental standards, regulation principles, and environmental policy priorities, which must meet individual countries’ conditions, where they are adopted, including economic conditions.

The selective priority principle emphasizes the significance of developing countries’ current conditions and needs, especially for the least developed and environmentally vulnerable countries.

The responsibility principle: all countries of the world must carry responsibility for maintaining the Earth’s environmentally stable zones, its ecosystems and resource reproduction, as well as plants and animals. The liability for harming the environment in any way must be ensured both at the national legislation level and at the level of international law, with world powers co-operating in developing such legislation.

The environmental harm internalization principle talks about the necessity to find a possibility to re-distribute economic means to cover harmful environmental effects based on the premise that the polluter must cover such effects.

The optimization principle requires the discontinuation of unsustainable production and consumption models, as well as encouraging an appropriate demographic policy.

The openness principle guarantees public availability of environmental information at the national level for every individual, and at the international level for countries’ official representatives mandated to take environmental security and emergency situation decisions. Information rights must be endorsed by appropriate legislation.

The pacifism principle is based on the premise that wars and military conflicts have a destructive effect on sustainable development: peace is the most important and necessary condition for environmental protection and introducing a new, noospheric civilization model.

The ecological principle: environmental and nature-saving orientation and saving life on Earth must become a dominant feature of economic and educational policy, modernizing economic practices, social relations and public consciousness, and the core of environmentally conscious economic development.

The gradualism principle: transition to sustainable development must have an evolutionary character avoiding sudden leaps, coercion or any actions that could result in conflict or resistance at a regional or international level. The terms and rates of production-technical, economic-political, organisational-administrative or other social transformations must be goal-oriented co-ordinated relative to the time of the predicted global environmental catastrophe. The goal is to put off for at least several decades the environmental calamity to be able to complete the comprehensive environmentalization of economic and social practices as well as public consciousness. National transition strategies to sustainable development must be based on appropriate regional, infrastructural and social specifics. The more developed and resource-rich economies could act as leaders and senior partners in the environmentalisation and general improvement of less developed countries economically and socially. At the same time, it does not imply one-sided “donorship”, but rather full-scale co-operation so that all participants comply with international legal norms and provide genuine contributions to the process.

The voluntary principle: different states and nations interact on a global partnership and goodwill basis, which is also the source of international sustainable development law.

The above principles are reflected in the concretization of sustainable development directions, collectively worked out at the end of last century.