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Sustainability

Our interdisciplinary research explores how pathways to sustainability, green transformations and equitable access to resources such as land, water and food can be achieved and help us meet the environmental as well as human development-related goals of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Our work builds on a long tradition of critical social science engagement with environmental issues and resource politics in collaboration with partners globally. It explores how pathways to sustainability are shaped by political-economic and social processes, and understands how they are driven by technology, markets, states and citizens.  Our research sheds new light on how we can achieve green transformations that move us from fossil fuel to renewable energy, from throw-away to circular economies. It addresses the politics of sustainability, and understands how transformations occur at local levels as well as global, in both rural and urban settings, and be led by citizens as well as national governments. In doing so, it shines a light on how sustainable resource use, consumption and production is shaped by issues such as gender, livelihoods and politics.

People

Image of Lyla Mehta
Lyla Mehta

Professorial Fellow

Image of Ian Scoones
Ian Scoones

Professorial Fellow

Image of Amber Huff
Amber Huff

Research Fellow

Image of Jeremy Allouche
Jeremy Allouche

Research Fellow

Image of Lars Otto Naess
Lars Otto Naess

Research Fellow

Image of Wei Shen
Wei Shen

Research Fellow

Image of Shilpi Srivastava
Shilpi Srivastava

Research Fellow

Programmes and centres

Projects

Project

System Change Hive

The System Change HIVE will explore and communicate visions of better lives to inform public thinking and work towards fairer systems that safeguard life-support systems and prioritise well-being and justice.

Recent work

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News

How women access and use energy is vital for achieving gender equality

Ahead of International Women's Day, a new IDS Bulletin shares important evidence on how understanding and acting on the differences between women and men in how they access and use energy  is vital for achieving both gender equality and SDG7, sustainable energy for all.

26 February 2020

Journal

Gender and Energy: Opportunities for All

IDS Bulletin 51.1

The global drive to provide universal access to sustainable and modern energy by 2030 is creating numerous opportunities for energy users and suppliers. However, men and women do not benefit equally from these opportunities. Women’s contribution to energy planning, supply, and policymaking is...

20 February 2020

Opinion

Unfolding the history of international development

“History is necessary to understand the present, to speak truth to power, and to fuel hope – no matter how controversial and many times put under scrutiny – that, despite historical turnarounds, some form of progress exists, or will in the future, and that it is possible to be in a better...

19 February 2020

Opinion

Notes from the field: the village and the rainmaker troubled by climate change

During our fieldwork in Uganda for the Pandemic Preparedness project, nowhere else have we found a stronger belief in diviners, rainmakers, and sorcery than among the agrarian communities in Kasese district. Among the Bakonzo people the combination of their strong belief in rainmakers and...

Grace Akello & 2 others

12 February 2020

News

IDS at the World Urban Forum

We’re excited to be participating in the upcoming Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10). Convened by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the World Urban Forum has become the premier international gathering for addressing the challenges of sustainable...

5 February 2020

News

Fifty years of research on pastoralism at IDS

Despite great efforts made to agree global goals for development, the world continues to be an uncertain, challenging environment for many people. This is true in some of the most challenging, marginal environments, where food and livelihoods rely on pastoralism – a way of life that revolves...

30 January 2020

News

Working across disciplines and sectors key to achieving Global Goals

Higher education must drive efforts to promote greater working across disciplines and sectors in order to generate the knowledge needed for meeting the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development (Global Goals) by 2030.  This is what IDS Director, Professor Melissa Leach told senior...

27 January 2020

Opinion

Risky business: five questions for the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report is now published, and as you might expect, concerns about climate change and ecological collapse are strongly featured. Based on the views of 750 ‘global experts and decision makers’, along with facts, figures and projections from various...

22 January 2020