Science-based Pathways for Sustainability: Towards a Community of Practice

Organizer: Cristian Passarello
Format: Online, Evening


In 2019, the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) reviewed progress on Agenda 2030 and further articulated the fundamental role of science in advancing knowledge-based transformations to sustainable development. It identified the urgent need to produce knowledge and understanding in three key areas: systemic interactions, competing development agendas, and transformations in concrete contexts (Messerli et al, 2019). Science-based Pathways for Sustainability is a Future Earth initiative, which aims to serve as an ‘incubator for engagement’ to build understanding of: a) How interactions at various scales in complex human-environment systems produce trade-offs or synergies within a context of competing development agendas, and b) how transformations can be mobilized to enable expansion of integrated pathways to sustainability in diverse concrete contexts, and c) how local pathways and processes of transformation interact across locations and scales and ‘add up’ to outcomes at the regional and global levels. 

The initiative supports the development of a Community of Practice (CoP), convening researchers from diverse disciplines who engage with societal actors (e.g. civil society, governments, private sector) in processes of adaptive learning to design, implement and evaluate pathways to sustainability. 

Building on the main conclusions of the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report and on the broader experience of the session’s participants, this session aims to:

  • Present the initiative, its goals and activities,
  • Collectively reflect on the best approaches to building a Pathways Community of Practice.

Themes: Integrated Action for the SDGs, Knowledge-to-Action