Towards a Concept of Sustainable Development
(With the South Caucasus on Our Minds)
     

Sustainable Development is a complex issue, with a variety of features, though its gist is obvious: Environmental Security, Renewable Energy Systems and development of relevant Technologies. The significance of Sustainable Development for the contemporary Globalized World is huge - it is present almost everywhere in everyday life. And yet, the idea of Sustainable Development primarily implies the use of Renewable Energy (that of water, sun, wind, geothermal waters, biomass) and the introduction of relevant Renewable Technologies. For the time to come, such Technologies will become the major tool for environmental protection and survival. Obviously, given the diabolical dimensions of Global Industry, the use of Traditional Energy systems (huge hydro-plants, fossil fuel -- oil, gas, coal, etc.) is still a bare necessity in everyday human life, however, the problem of Environmental and Energy Security is acquiring such a momentum, that in the not very distant future the share of Renewable Energy technologies in the Global Energy Consumption will increase substantially. Therefore, the major driving force for Sustainable Development is in the Renewable Energy Technologies. However, with the regard to the Global and Regional problems, our Vision of Sustainable Development includes some other important perspectives, such as - Geopolitical, Macro-economical and Cultural. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Caucasus (South and North) populated by the peoples with extraordinarily diverse national, cultural, religious, linguistic, ethno-psychological identities, turned into a "paradise" for political and regional military conflicts and clashes. These conflicts, as well as in general - the solution of the problem of Global Coexistence - should be addressed through the vista of Sustainable Development. The Concept of Sustainable Development for the Caucasus implies the following political, economical and security issues:
   Consideration of the Interests of all Nationalities and Ethnic Groups of the Region;
   Putting together of the Common Principles of Economic Cooperation and the modeling of       the Tax-Free Space;
   Development of the viable models for setting up the Caucasus Bank, the Stock and the       Commodities Exchanges;
   Elaboration of a Model for Infrastructural Development;
   Elaboration of the Energy Security Model;
   Modeling of the Common Pricing System;
   Decrease in Banking Tariffs and setting up of the Unified Banking System;
   Putting together of the Model of the South Caucasus Parliament;
   Creation of the Common Peace Corp Model;
   Setting the Future Strategy for the introduction of the Common Currency;
Without such efforts the Sustainable Development of the South Caucasus Region has no future. But there is more to it:
The concept of the Sustainable Development for the Caucasus needs to be enriched by Cultural Studies, given the ethno-cultural diversity and complexity of this region. To a large extent, the political, social and economic disasters of this region originate from the cultural problems like: National Identity Crisis, Lack of Education, Xenophobia, Religious Nationalism, etc. Therefore, a special room here should be given to the study of such issues, as - Collective Memory, National Narratives, Modernization of the History and Native Literature Instruction, Impact of Art-forms and Esthetics on the Collective Consciousness, etc. The ethnic and the territorial conflicts in the Caucasus were not masterminded by the politicians only; the way towards the clashes was laid by the "works" and "utterances" coming from local historians, writers, filmmakers, artists and various public intellectuals. Therefore, we need to explore the role and capacity of Humanities and their application for harmonizing the ethno-cultural controversies in this Region, to encourage the Dialogue of Cultures. Moreover: each culture carries some elements of Sustainable Development in it, otherwise it would never survive the challenges posed by the History. Hence, we need to implement such Cultural Studies and Applied Humanities projects which would uncover and foreground the "Traditional Sustainability Templates" implicit in any of the cultures, to encourage, activate and modernize these Templates.
To sum up:
The concept of Sustainable Development should be based on the fusion of diverse activities -- the Renewable Energy and relevant Technologies on one hand, and on the other -- the very Environment in which these Technologies will be applied, i.e. a particular Societal, particular Cultural and particular Ethnic Context. Both aspects of Sustainable Development -- Technological and Humanitarian - should interplay and interact in order to succeed.
The complex model of Sustainable Development suggested here, embraces the three elements - Globalization, Sustainability, and Individual or Collective Identity. Such a triple perspective may pave the way for the future development of different Nations, Regions and Societies. Each Nation, each Region will have to come up with its own model of Sustainable Development.
Given its universal context, Sustainable Development in the future may emerge as a mechanism regulating Regional and International relations. In this respect, the Sustainability comprises such human values and categories like Peace, Democracy, Justice, etc. However, within the context of Sustainable Development these values and categories acquire qualitatively new, broader sense and reference. Their major markers indicate the symmetry and the alignment between Global and Local, Universal and Ethnic. Sustainable Development can provide the major principles to "Humanize" Globalization; to protect and encourage Local and Individual identity; it paves the way towards "Humanizing" the Global Environmental and Technological dimensions. Thus, Sustainable Development is the most viable tool against the Erasure of Identity (National or Individual): it is a bridge between the Global tendencies and Locale practices.