Accelerating Sustainability: Why Political Economy Matters

Accelerating sustainability is a challenge that defines our era and is a central theme of Institute of Development Studies research. This paper brings together what we can learn from development studies and from sustainability studies to understand this challenge and move forward.

Our starting point is that sustainability is a problem of success resulting from the reduction of poverty and increasing prosperity of ever more people. Understanding where, how and why such rises in living standard occurred was a central concern of IDS in its first 50 years. We argue that this development era of IDS needs to give way to a sustainability era for the next 50 years in which accelerating sustainability is the central concern.

Key contacts

Project details

start date
1 September 2014
end date
1 September 2015


Supported by

About this project

Research themes


Image of Hubert Schmitz
Hubert Schmitz

Emeritus Fellow

Image of Ian Scoones
Ian Scoones

Professorial Fellow

Recent work