Revisiting the Social Contract

  • Carlos Lopes


The central tenet of sustainable development resides in the concept of equity and social justice for all. The notion of sustainable development must be flexible and dynamic to accommodate ecological and social realities. Sustainable development, primarily, is a process of transformative change, but it occurs only in an enabling environment supported by robust institutions and a set of rules that must be adhered to. The challenge of a multilateral governance relates to the issues of governing the ‘commons’ based on set global agendas, legitimate principle of common actions, and a bringing together of global communities to commit to a process of implementing change at the local, national, and international levels. There must be coordinated state actions to materialise the dream of green economy and development into reality. In the African context the challenge of a new social contract resides mostly on balancing environmental and demographic concerns in the structural transformation process.


Social contract Sustainable development Green economy Environment Development Multilateralism Negotiation Global Governance 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Lopes
    • 1
  1. 1.Mandela School of Public GovernanceUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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