Rethinking Sustainability Research: Eight Global Challenges

mb-m-and-c-1-blue“We must start to envision what a positive future looks like and work to make this happen”  Bob Watson, Chair of Future Earth’s Interim Engagement Committee.

Further reinforcement that good or best practice may not be enough, with the need to identify the ‘required practice’ to enable us to address big sustainability issues is central to Future Earth’s recently published Strategic Research Agenda 2014  .  This concept, (mentioned many times by myself in presentations, seminars and on this blog) resonates well with the Living Building Challenge and restorative sustainability thinking or forward visioning.

The Strategic Research Agenda 2014 publication, result of a year-long global consultation on priorities for global change research, calls for a rethink  in research to address serious environmental, social and economic threats.

The Strategic Research Agenda 2014 focuses on three themes: firstly, on understanding how the planet is changing; secondly, on deploying integrated, interdisciplinary science to address urgent sustainable development needs; and thirdly, on transforming development to be more sustainable in the long term, through eight global sustainability challenges;

  1. Delivering water, energy, and food for all.
  2. Decoupling carbon emissions from economic growth.
  3. Safeguarding land, freshwater and marine natural assets.
  4. Building healthy, resilient and productive cities.
  5. Promoting sustainable rural futures.
  6. Improving human health by incorporating global change concerns.
  7. Encouraging sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  8. Improving governance and early warning systems to respond to complex future threats.

‘The Strategic Research Agenda 2014 advocates not just a set of research priorities, but also a novel way of doing science. This approach is detailed in the Future Earth 2025 Vision and includes a strong emphasis on full integration among scientific disciplines, on engagement with societal partners in co-designing and co-producing knowledge, on international collaboration, on producing knowledge that is valuable to decision-makers, and on generating the solutions that society needs’ Strategic Research Agenda 2014

Download: strategic_research_agenda_2014.pdf

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