We find ourselves today in a paradoxical situation: There are few leaders in business, politics, and civil society who do not acknowledge the need for a global transformation towards sustainability. And yet little progress has been made towards making this goal a reality. Merely knowing about the state of the world evidently does not suffice to bring about the necessary changes in our thinking and actions.
Transformation knowledge: bridging knowledge and implementation
This discrepancy has been the subject of numerous scientific studies covering a range of knowledge types. One important and promising bridge between abstract knowledge and political action is transformation knowledge. This can be broadly defined as the production, collation, and evaluation of knowledge for the purposes of laying the foundations for concrete transformation processes and ensuring that these are resilient, effective, and acceptable to those affected. The project "Global Sustainability Strategies Summit" seeks to address the urgent need for knowledge to foster such transformations. This project gathers together renowned experts to translate the best available knowledge on sustainable development worldwide to support the generation of actionable solutions. Every two years representatives from leading research institutes in the field of sustainable development will convene for a week-long summit to formulate strategic solutions for the most pressing sustainability challenges. Discussions at these summits will focus primarily on trade-offs and interdependencies across the SDG spectrum and between sustainability, globalisation, and digitalisation. In attempting to close the gap between the current reality and the goal of a sustainable future, actionable solutions developed at the summit will be assessed in terms of their impact, efficiency, resilience, fairness, acceptance, legality, and ethical acceptability.
A co-creative approach to solutions development
While these criteria will play an important role, they are not the only yardstick by which potential solutions will be measured. Drawing on their considerable expertise and familiarity with the complexities of sustainability challenges, the experts will pool their knowledge to provide a robust joint assessment of each proposal based on these seven scientific criteria. Highlighting the interdependencies between various courses of actions and their impacts, the experts will make the case for the most promising interventions. Then, working closely with decision-makers from business, politics, and civil society, they will identify pathways for their successful implementation within the current political context. Two summits have been scheduled for late autumn 2018 (winter 2019 at the latest) and autumn 2020. The project's results will be disseminated in a high-profile publication and, at the regional level, through specific recommendations to actors from politics, business, and civil society.
- Xuemai Bai - Professor, Australian National University, Fenner School of Environment and Society
- Begay Belashaw - Director, Sustainable Development Goals Centre for Africa
- Marcel Bursztyn - Professor, University of Brasilia
- William Clark - Professor of Sustainability Science, Harvard University
- Carl Folke - Scientific Director of the Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm University and Director, Beijer Institute of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
- Heide Hackmann - Executive Director, ICSU
- Kensuke Fukushi - Director, Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S), The University of Tokyo Institutes for Advanced Studies (UTIAS),
- Joyeeta Gupta - Professor of Environment and Development in the Global South at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft
- Carlo Jaeger - Professor of Economics, Potsdam University and Global Climate Forum, Berlin
- Anand Patwardhan - Professor, University of Maryland, School of Public Policy
- Peter Schlosser - Vice President, Arizona State University
- Sander van der Leeuw - Professor for Sustainability Sciences, Arizona State University
- Julie Vaille - Director, IDDRI Paris (confirmation pending)
- Coleen Vogel - Professor, University of the Witwatersrand School of Geography, Archeology, and Environmental Studies
- Yongsheng Zhang, Deputy Director, Development Research Center of the State Council, People's Republic of China