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Science, policy and practice

Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability

When the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) was launched in 2007, one of its ambitions was to become a reference point and convener for high-level talks on sustainable governance. In May 2011, it did just that


Together with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm Environment Institute, the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the centre co-hosted the third Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability. The symposium took place at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm between 16 and 19 May and gathered some 50 of the world’s most renowned thinkers and experts on global sustainability – half of them Nobel Laureates.

Over the course of three intensive days, the participants discussed issues that form the very core of the research at Stockholm Resilience Centre: social-ecological interactions, resilient systems, and the need to reconnect to the biosphere. Three background papers were produced ahead of the symposium. The production of these papers engaged a number of researchers at SRC, along with key participants from the symposium.

The outcome of the symposium discussions was the Stockholm Memorandum, a short but sharp document on the priorities for coherent global action. The memorandum was signed by the Nobel Laureates and handed over to the members of the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, who chose to cut short its own meeting in Helsinki and come to Stockholm.

In early 2012, the panel issued its final report entitled Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing and was clearly influenced by SRC’s research and networking capacity. The most direct evidence of SRC influence is its extensive use of research on planetary boundaries, tipping points, and the acceleration of environmental change. The report is in many respects the counterpart of the 1987 landmark report by the World Commission on Environment and Development, “Our Common Future”, better known as the Brundtland Report. Just as its predecessor, the report is a significant contribution to the UN’s work on sustainable development, and was an important precursor to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.

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Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201