This focus area addresses the challenges and the diversity of trajectories associated with sustainable development for all in the context of the Anthropocene
While major improvements in human well-being and life standards have been achieved for many in the last century, these benefits remain unequally distributed across the globe and have unfolded at the cost of ecosystem degradation, challenging the resilience of the biosphere.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize that inclusive social and economic prosperity needs to come hand in hand with environmental sustainability. This represents a crucial step towards our understanding that human development is intrinsically connected to, and dependent on the biosphere. But achieving the SDGs will require systemic transformations across multiple sectors and the interdependencies between these sectors might lead to synergies, but also tensions among efforts targeting particular SDGs. Furthermore, sustainable development for all may be achieved through different pathways, each one with different costs, benefits and beneficiaries.
As the Earth system is transformed in the Anthropocene, these complexities are aggravated by the enormous challenges that arise from the convergence and interaction of socio-economic and environmental drivers including climate change, global economic crisis, rising food insecurity, pandemics and violent conflict. Additionally, increased connectivity and globalization has generated new systemic risks that can lead to cascading effects with detrimental impacts on people and the biosphere. Although these changes affect all societies, the impacts are different across regions, social groups and gender, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Therefore, issues of power distribution and equity are central to trajectories towards sustainable development for all.
We will foster a vibrant collaborative space for SRC researchers to discuss, synthesize and advance cross-cutting science that offers new insights about biosphere-based sustainable development for all under the turbulent context of the Anthropocene.
Our work is advanced in close collaboration with international partners, and in close collaboration with non-academic organizations and change-makers from all over the world.
Some of our overarching subthemes
- Intertwined human and biosphere development
- De-localization and de-colonization of development – Development in the Anthropocene cannot be understood just as a local issue in particular geographies of the Global South. Local development is a part of and linked to global dynamics, and developing towards more sustainable and fair trajectories is a challenge for all regions of the globe
- Development as transformative capacity – Ensuring resilient, sustainable and just societal development in the turbulent times we are living requires a capacity to innovate and transform, going beyond just persisting or adapting to the changing conditions.
Research news | 2022-11-10
Fair global redistribution of resources is key for planetary stability
Redistributing resources and transforming society are necessary to ensure universal access to basic needs while staying within Earth’s limits
Research news | 2022-10-14
In Colombia, a new war rages on people and nature
Six years after the Colombian peace agreement, crucial ecosystems and local communities are still caught in the crossfire
Research news | 2022-10-13
Scientific narratives risk reinforcing colonial structures in tropical forests
Rural forest communities are made the scapegoat for environmental destruction in tropical forests
Research news | 2022-09-28
To curb biodiversity loss, development cooperation needs a rethink
Working paper highlights the need for development cooperation to adopt complexity-aware theories of change
Research news | 2022-08-19
Six ways resilience science can help shift sustainable development practice
Currently a substantial gap between what resilience science suggests the focus and approach should be and what is implemented in practice
Research news | 2021-09-29
Ready for anything
Centre theme leader Cibele Queiroz explains why diversity is important in turbulent times
The contributions of resilience to reshaping sustainable development
Journal / article | 2022
We review the past decade’s widespread application of resilience science in sustainable development practice and examine whether and how resilience is reshaping this practice to better engage in complex contexts. We analyse six shifts in practice: from capitals to capacities, from objects to relations, from outcomes to processes, from closed to open systems, from generic interventions to context sensitivity, and from linear to...
Principles for knowledge co-production in sustainability research
Journal / article | 2020
Research practice, funding agencies and global science organizations suggest that research aimed at addressing sustainability challenges is most effective when ‘co-produced’ by academics and non-academics. Co-production promises to address the complex nature of contemporary sustainability challenges better than more traditional scientific approaches. But definitions of knowledge co-production are diverse and often contradictor...
A global assessment of structural change in development funding for fisheries
Journal / article | 2019
Foreign aid constitutes a significant part of the national income of many developing countries. Fisheries are often of relevance for livelihoods and food security in these countries, so funding aimed at supporting sustainable fisheries can directly contribute to human well-being. In theory, foreign aid is aimed at promoting the economic development and welfare of developing countries and its allocation should therefore be alig...
Development and equity: a gendered inquiry in a swidden landscape
Journal / article | 2018
Market-driven development is transforming swidden landscapes and having different impacts along intersections of gender, age and class. In Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, Dayak communities practicing swidden agriculture are making choices on maintaining traditional land use systems, and engaging in rubber, oil palm and conservation (REDD+) in their livelihood strategies. Although REDD+ has been heralded as an alternat...
Nature's contribution to poverty alleviation, human wellbeing and the SDGs
Trade-offs and synergies between the Sustainable Development Goals and the challenge of sustainable development that leaves no-one behind
The Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society
Integrates research on social–ecological systems, the services they generate, and the relationships among natural capital, human wellbeing, livelihoods, inequality and poverty