Linking global and local sustainability: new journal article

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012 was another opportunity to reflect on the links between global and local sustainability. High-profile global processes, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and others, have aimed to unite action at a global level to address sustainability challenges. But these are only half the story: these global initiatives need to be connected to local aims, debates and action.

A new paper by STEPS Centre members Adrian Ely, Adrian Smith, Andy Stirling, Melissa Leach and Ian Scoones examines the successes and challenges of globally linked local action through a number of illustrative examples. In the paper, Innovation politics post-Rio+20: hybrid pathways to sustainability?, the authors discuss the steps forward in understanding how innovation contributes to transitions at multiple levels, and what this means for governance approaches which link global and local processes.

They also propose a ‘hybrid politics’ of innovation linking global and local sustainability, which pays attention to three key issues: the direction in which innovation and development proceed; second, the distribution of the costs, benefits, and risks associated with such changes; third, the diversity of approaches and forms of innovation that contribute to global transitions to sustainability. This paper is part of a special issue on ‘Governing sustainability: Rio 2012 and the road beyond’ in the journal Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy.