Accelerating Sustainability

Our focus on accelerating sustainability recognises this as one of the greatest challenges of our age. Climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss and land degradation are all linked, and affect people across the world. The Sustainable Development Goals have established a vital agenda for all of humanity, but how to realise these huge ambitions is less clear.

Busy street scene in Bangladesh

Our research therefore focuses on how urgently-needed transformations towards sustainability can be achieved. This requires an understanding of diverse pathways, and the political-economic and social processes that facilitate or block them. Sustainability and ‘green’ transformations may be technology, market, state or citizen led – or a combination of all these, depending on the context.

Sustainability is understood in diverse ways by different groups of people, and engaging with these different perspectives is essential to both research and action. Equally, how transformations influence different people is important, and issues of distribution, social justice and the politics of resource use will be central to our work.

Our work on accelerating sustainability in this strategy period builds on a long tradition of environmental social science analysis at IDS, and, over the last decade, in the ESRC STEPS Centre - a joint initiative of IDS, SPRU and Global Studies at the University of Sussex.

COP22 and the Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement was adopted on 12 December 2015, and entered into force on 4 November 2016.


This year's Conference of the Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will mark one year on from the agreement, and will take place in Marakkech.

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