Sustainability Governance (SG)

With a focus on soils and oceans, this research area strives to promote governance for sustainability at global, national and regional levels. We are actively involved in transformation processes like the implementation of the global sustainable development goals, the emergence of a new climate regime, and the negotiation of a new global agreement to protect oceans in areas beyond national jurisdiction (the high seas). Our engagement is based on the understanding that current societal and political processes towards sustainability will gradually succeed if the strategies that underlie them are constantly monitored. We are driving the development and implementation of innovative governance approaches to soils and oceans. At the same time, the IASS is analysing these processes to gain insights from the perspective of transformation studies and establish sustainability governance as a research topic.
The following research questions are particularly important:
  • Which governance approaches and regulations can ensure a sustainable and responsible handling of soils and oceans?
  • How can we achieve the desired governance reforms? What strategies are appropriate at different levels (national, regional, international) in conjunction with binding and non-binding instruments? 
  • What role do participatory multi-stakeholder processes play in the required transformation processes? How can such multi-stakeholder processes be reinforced?
  • How can we optimise transdisciplinarity in practice in order to better support knowledge-based transformation processes?
Our thematic threads
  • The Global Soil Week (GSW) and outreach unit accompanies the ongoing GSW dialogue processes and leads the way to the preparation of the regional African Soil Seminar in 2016 and the Global Soil Week in 2017.
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The SDG Forum accompanies the implementation process of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in and by Germany.
  • Sustainable Soil and Land Management focuses on sustainable soil fertility management related to adoption mechanisms for sustainable land management practices and co-generation of knowledge of larger strategies to prevent soil degradation. 
  • Responsible Land Governance deals with strategies of implementing the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGTs) to protect the land rights of the world’s most vulnerable citizens.  
  • Advancing Governance of the High Seas focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and accompanies the negotiation process for a new global legally-binding agreement and complementary approaches at the regional level.
  • Sustainable Ocean and Coasts deals with integrated approaches for sustainable ocean management, including through the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals for the oceans or with regard to emerging activities such as deep-sea mining and concepts such as blue growth. 
  • Potsdam Ocean Governance Workshops and the Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance provide platforms for transdisciplinary research that contribute to identifying practical and evidence-based solutions at different levels (national/local, regional and global).
  • The Transforming Cities work stream is a cross-cutting theme across the seven aforementioned thematic threads. In 2016, the focus is on a critical dialogue series as a contribution to HABITAT III.