Achieving Sustainable Development: The Centrality and Multiple Facets of Integrated Decisionmaking

38 Pages Posted: 1 May 2007

See all articles by John C. Dernbach

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School


Integrated decisionmaking is the foundational principle of sustainable development. Other principles, including the precautionary approach or principle, intergenerational equity, and public participation, all depend on integrated decisionmaking. Unsustainable development results from the fragmentation of decisionmaking into economic, security, environmental, and social categories. Thus, sustainable development requires that fragmentation in decisionmaking be eliminated - that environmental and social concerns be integrated into economic and security decisionmaking. This integration can and should be done in many ways. Decisionmaking processes can be integrated according to their objective, the resources they affect, the activities on which they are based, the place in which activities take place, and the time over which their effects will be felt. A variety of legal and policy tools can be integrated into the decisionmaking process. In addition, the actions of multiple decisionmakers can be integrated with each other. The foundational aspect of integrated decisionmaking has substantial practical consequences for the achievement of sustainable development, for it suggests that the achievement of sustainable development will depend to a great degree on the extent to which integrating legal and analytical tools can be devised and employed. The many forms of integrated decisionmaking suggest a set of important law and policy tools for achieving sustainable development - tools whose potential we have only begun to exploit.

Keywords: sustainable devleopment, decisionmaking, integrated decisionmaking, precautionary approach, intergenerational equity

JEL Classification: L20, Q20, Q28, Q30, Q38, Q48, O20, O22

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C., Achieving Sustainable Development: The Centrality and Multiple Facets of Integrated Decisionmaking. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Vol. 10, p. 247, 2003. Available at SSRN:

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics