Promoting sustainable development opens up debates about our relationship with the natural world, about what constitutes social progress and about the character of development, both in the North and the South, in the present and into the future. These interrelated issues form the main themes of this book. The book explores the prospects for, and barriers to, the promotion of sustainable development as presented in the classic Brundtland formulation and promoted by the United Nations (UN). It looks at policy developments and actions in different socio-economic contexts: the high consumption societies of the industrialised world, including in Europe and North America; the Third World; the economies in transition in East and Central Europe; and the emerging economies, especially that of China. The exploration is international in its focus, because it recognises that promoting sustainable development is a quintessentially global task. At the same time, it takes account of the fact that policy implementation, and its related actions, take place at lower scales, including at the regional, national and sub-national levels.