A new set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals were formally adopted in a UN summit on 25-27 September. Could the SDGs provide a new chance to put sustainability at the heart of international action on development?
The STEPS Centre believes that many pathways to sustainability are possible. Global and local efforts to seek them require inclusive, democratic debate and the recognition of diverse forms and sources of knowledge.
Commentary on the SDGs
In this blog post, STEPS Director Ian Scoones looks back at the partial successes of the Millennium Development Goals, and suggests 5 ways in which the new goals might achieve lasting change for the better.
A Sustainable Development Goal on infrastructure, industrialization and innovation could provoke new ideas on how people get access to energy. In this article, Adrian Ely argues that off-grid, distributed systems are now seriously challenging the logic of centralized-energy infrastructures.
Goal 5 of the SDGs offers the chance to embed gender equality into transformative approaches to sustainable development. Melissa Leach (former STEPS Director and now IDS Director) argues that gender is vital for the whole SDG agenda. We need approaches that address and challenge the power relations and structures that create and sustain discrimination.
Many countries in Africa have struggled to make progress on sustainable development, despite much investment and effort. In this post, Joanes Atela of the new STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub suggests that the region’s multiple political, institutional, socio-cultural and resource complexities need to be examined more closely. A transformative agenda should pay attention to resource politics, equity and inclusion.
Science, technology and innovation have been integral in successful development and poverty-reduction efforts. But in the rush toward exporting high-tech inventions, there has not been nearly enough emphasis on actors in developing countries. This article by Ben Ramalingam looks at how the SDGs might provoke a rethink.
In this post for the World Economic Forum blog, drawing on STEPS Centre work, Melissa Leach and Adrian Ely suggest eight considerations to help guide the Technology Facilitation Mechanism, and enable innovation across all the Global Goals. The article is part of a series in collaboration with the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Multiple ‘green transformations’ are required if humanity is to live sustainably on planet Earth. Recalling past transformations, this 2015 book in our Pathways to Sustainability series examines what makes the current challenge different, and especially urgent.
Contributing authors include Erik Millstone, Andy Stirling, Matthew Lockwood, Adrian Smith, Adrian Ely, Mariana Mazzucato, Stephen Spratt, Hubert Schmitz, Ian Scoones, Melissa Leach and Peter Newell.
Gender Equality and Sustainable Development calls for policies, investments and initiatives in sustainable development that recognize women’s knowledge, agency and decision-making as fundamental.
The book includes an introduction co-authored by Prof Leach with Preetha Prabhakaran and STEPS water and sanitation convenor Lyla Mehta.
Innovation, Sustainability, Development: A New Manifesto
What kind of science and technology for development is needed for today’s world? With cutting-edge ideas including the 3Ds agenda and some Southern perspectives, the New Manifesto recommends new ways of linking science and innovation to development for a more sustainable, equitable and resilient future.
World Survey on the Role of Women in Development 2014: Gender Equality and Sustainable Development
This flagship publication from UN Women makes strong links between pathways to sustainable development and gender equality in a post-2015 world. The conceptual framing of the report was led by Melissa Leach (former STEPS Director and now IDS Director) and Lyla Mehta (STEPS Water & Sanitation theme convenor), and draws centrally on the STEPS Pathways Approach.
World Social Science Report: Between social and planetary boundaries
STEPS director Melissa Leach, Kate Raworth (Oxfam) and Johan Rockstrom (Stockholm Resilience Centre)’s chapter for the World Social Science Report 2013 combines the STEPS Centre’s work on the three ‘Ds’ agenda of direction, diversity and distribution, SRC’s work on planetary boundaries and Raworth’s ‘doughnut economics’ to offer a new framework for addressing environmental change, enduring poverty and social inequalities.
Transforming Innovation for Sustainability
A radical new approach to innovation is urged by STEPS, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Tellus Institute in this paper, published as a contribution to the Rio+20 Earth Summit. We argue that Sustainable Development Goals that keep human societies within a ‘safe operating space’ of planetary boundaries requires far greater recognition and power for grassroots actors and processes, involving them within an inclusive, multi-scale innovation politics.
Direction, Distribution and Diversity! Pluralising Progress in Innovation, Sustainability and Development
This paper by Professor Andy Stirling, part of the New Manifesto project, argues for a more deliberate, equitable and accountable politics around progress towards sustainability using the ‘3D agenda’: Direction, Distribution and Diversity.
- Democracy in the Anthropocene? Science and Sustainable Development Goals at the UN Melissa Leach, Huffington Post
- Debate around democracy in the Anthropocene
- Future Earth takes flight with inaugral science committee
- The dark side of the green economy: ‘Green grabbing’ Melissa Leach, Al Jazeera
- Science, politics and the post-Rio+20 agenda Melissa Leach and Adrian Ely, Huffington Post
Our Rio+20 blog series for Guardian Global Development:
- Rio+20 must make inclusive innovation stepping stone to a sustainable future Adrian Smith and Adrian Ely
- Edge of sustainability: why Rio+20 mustn’t ignore people on city fringe Fiona Marshall and Lyla Mehta
- Why Rio+20 must not leave the politics out of sustainable development Melissa Leach
- Achieving universal energy access Rob Byrne and Jim Watson
- It’s time for sustainable development Julia Day
- STEPS Centre Symposium: Resource Politics: transforming pathways to sustainability, September 2015. Once the SDGs are agreed, tough questions will need to be asked about how resources are shared in just and sustainable ways. This STEPS conference looked at how people understand, define and argue about resources, who decides on how they are accessed and shared, and who benefits or loses.
- COP21 climate change conference: We are engaging in events and debates leading up to the UN’s COP21 climate change conference in December 2015, which aims to produce a ‘universal climate agreement’ for global action.
- STEPS Centre Symposium: Credibility across cultures: expertise, uncertainty and the global politics of scientific advice’ . February 2013. How to build and maintain robust, open and accountable processes of expert advice that can operate effectively across disciplines, sectors, social contexts and national boundaries – essential for the post-2015 agenda.
- Seminar: Kate Raworth, Oxfam – A safe and just space for humanity: can we live within the doughnut?’ 10 October 2012
- Seminar: Oliver Greenfield, convenor of the Green Economy Coalition – on the post-MDGs landscape. 12 December 2012
UK Parliament – Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry on the Government’s Approach to Sustainable Development – the STEPS Centre’s written submission (PDF) (published September 2015)
UK Parliament – Environment Audit Committee Inquiry on Sustainable Development Goals – the STEPS Centre’s written submission to the inquiry
UK Parliament – International Development Committee Inquiry – Post-2015 Development Goals The STEPS Centre’s written submission to the inquiry
Our contribution to ‘World We Want’ Civil Society Dialogue with the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda’
Beyond Rio Resource Centre – research and expertise at the STEPS Centre and the University of Sussex
Rio+20 programme: The STEPS Centre mounted a substantial programme of activities in the run-up to, and at, Rio+20, linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) process, including publications, video and media coverage.