Short courses

Introduction to Sustainable Development

This course focuses on the rise to global prominence of the challenge of sustainability in general and sustainable development in particular.  Public policy debates at the global levels of governance are increasingly focussing on the challenges posed by natural resource limits to the ways production and consumption are currently structured and managed within a world that is sharply divided between the rich (located mainly in the global North) and poor (located mainly in the global South).

The challenge facing the world today is not just about the redistribution of resources to ensure greater levels of social equity, but also about how to reorganise the extraction, use and disposal of those resources in order to ensure longer-term survival of the eco-systems that sustain all life.

This course will provide course participants with an overview of the most significant global environmental, social and economic challenges that face humankind, and an insight into the solutions suggested by the universal commitment to sustainable development. Four questions will guide the lectures and discussions:

  • What does sustainability – and sustainable development in particular - mean?
  • What is the relationship between inequality and unsustainability? Or, alternatively, what is the relationship between strategies to reduce inequality (via poverty eradication for the poor and consumption reduction for the rich) and sustainable development?
  • What are the dynamics of transition to a more sustainable world?
  • What are the relationships between human life and all life forms and how has this relationship evolved over time? How can humans re-establish an intimate relationship with nature?


To view the brochure for this course, please click here.

Postgraduate students, professionals and practitioners working in government, corporate or civil society sectors who would like to understand the sustainability challenges faced at a global scale, but also to explore what this means from a local as well as personal perspective by engaging in discussions and reflection during class. No prior experience or knowledge in Sustainable Development is needed.