Linking local and global sustainability post-2015

13 January 2014

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.

World at night by Cote on flickr

A new paper by IDS Fellows and STEPS Centre Convenors, 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 of Environment and Planning.

The IDS-based STEPS Centre is currently undertaking work around aligning the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) and post 2015 framework processes. The STEPS Centre was actively involved in the Rio+20 conference, where IDS Fellow and STEPS Centre Director Melissa Leach was a participant in the high level dialogue on sustainability. For more on the Centre's activities and to access a wealth of related resources visit the STEPS Centre Post-2015 web pages

Image: Cote / creative commons on flickr