Local sustainable development strategies are based on the safeguarding and valorisation of the elements of peculiarity and uniqueness of a given territory in its natural, social and cultural components. They are based on cooperative, pluralistic and participatory processes pointing to the qualitative valorisation of local resources (natural, social, cultural) for the collective benefit. Local sustainable development represents a concrete alternative to the developmental model and system promoted by the globalisation process, consenting to safeguard natural and cultural diversity for the collective benefit.
LOCAL refers to the framework of the development: rooted in a specific place (Battir), and in its specific resources – natural (the environment, the territory), cultural (the history, the oral heritage, the traditional practices, the knowledge) and social (the inhabitants) – local development is defined and designed departing from them, from their specific carrying capacity, needs and potentials.
At the community level, local development approaches are based on cooperative, pluralistic and participatory processes pointing to the qualitative valorisation of local resources (natural, social, cultural) for the collective benefit. Main purpose of local development processes is to put collective and public wellbeing at the centre of local governance and institutional processes. It points to develop individual freedom and sense of responsibility by increasing the capacity of the inhabitants in the understanding and managing their territory, resources and heritage intended as a shared resource. Local development therefore it is not a simple strategy for economic growth, but it implies a complex of social, political and cultural components and indicators that can not be realised by the market alone.
SUSTAINABILITY means the capacity to endure, to sustain processes of change and development in a way that does not cause the degradation or exhaustion of the existing resources. Sustainable development is based on a pattern of resource use that aims to meet present human needs while preserving the natural and social environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for the future generations. Sustainability is therefore potential for long-term maintenance of well being. It entails the management of the natural and social environment as well as the patterns of human production/consumption.
Sustainability must be considered in its three main facets:
1. Environmental sustainability: is the process of making sure current processes of interaction with the environment are realised with the idea of safeguarding the integrity of the natural environment and of the local ecosystems. An environmentally sustainable human activity only uses nature's resources in a way that does not deteriorate them and at a rate at which they can be replenished naturally.
2. Social sustainability: social sustainability encompasses human and civil rights, labour rights, democratic governance, public access to information and participation. Socially sustainable communities are equitable, diverse, connected and democratic and provide a good quality of life to current and future generations. Social sustainability entails that future generations should have the same or greater access to social resources as the current generation and that there should be equal access to social resources within the current generation.
3. Economic sustainability: economics interfaces with sustainability through the social and ecological consequences of economic activity. An economic system is sustainable only if accommodates the ecosystems and the social reality on which it depends. Sustainable economic systems and business practices, therefore, integrate ecological concerns with social and economic ones, and considers them a priority in rapport of short-term profit and unlimited growth.