In the early 1970ies, the Club of Rome had presented, for the first time, how limited resources could set limits to growth. The ecological movement and many scientists had, since the late sixties, become increasingly aware of how we were approaching limits to the burdens that we could load upon Nature’s capacity to absorb the effects of human activities.

Later on, the Report “Our Common Future” played its maybe most important role in clearly establishing the link between environment and development. In spite of the common belief that the goals of environmental protection and economic development are incompatible, the Report proved that neither of them is sustainable without proper attention to both.

The International Conference on Sustainable Development Strategies calls for new policies that sustain and expand the environmental resource base. It calls for a new approach and instruments, in our common effort to reach the Millenium Declaration Goals – to eradicate poverty, to improve education and health, to ensure environmental sustainability. And, last but not least, it calls for contributions to a culture of “sustainable development as freedom”, as a paradigm-altering foundation for understanding the demands of economic development in the twenty-first century.