Institutional Obstacles for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Policy (A Case Study of Lithuania)


  • Mantas Bileišis Mykolas Romeris University


sustainable development, policy, United Nations, Lithuania, good governance.


Over recent decades the discourse of sustainable development has loomed large in the agendas of national
and international policies alike. This article analyzes the history of the term and its conceptual underpinnings
to find that there are fundamental contradictions concerning the present mechanism of implementation
of the policy concerned. At present policy is formulated on an international level with the
United Nations at the fore. However, the implementation is the responsibility of the nation states. In the
process their sovereignty is not challenged and no mechanism of accountability exists. This is worsened
by the absence of an institutional framework within nation states to implement such policies. This is demonstrated
by the analysis of the Lithuanian Constitution and the Long Term Development Strategy of the
State. However, there are good historical reasons for the current international setup. The idea of a single
all-integrating global policy is going against the very spirit of the concept of sustainable development,
thereby making the policy itself “unsustainable”, if not unfeasible. The author suggests an alternative
approach to implementing a policy of sustainable development by changing the principle of how it is
formed. Rather than formulating and attempting to implement a policy from “top down”, the policies
should be formed in as low level of policy as possible, by deinstitutionalizing and moving the discourse of
sustainable development from the realm of politics to the realm scientific debate and by promoting good
governance. In the end it is the sum of decisions made on the local and even individual level which makes
our lifestyle sustainable or not and these decisions must be informed rather than coerced.