Position

After United Nations 2030 development agenda setting-up Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), expected to be one of the main influencing paper for mainstream global development policies in the coming years, and on the basis of the previous objective framework MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) the focus on sustainability increased both in theoretical perspectives but mainly in practical applications in every field of human action.

It is already possible to register an increasing global effort on “renewed sustainable development” with influences and constraints at multiple scale (from global action to national, regional and local dimension). We refer to “renewed sustainable development” as a former concept, widely argued in multiple scientific domains (form planning and management to decision science, from environmental science to economics and econometrics, from social science to operative research), but applied with increasing awareness in everyday human activity. So the envisaged renovation belongs more to the consciousness in taking into account the need to verify sustainability as a balance between the use of resources and their reconstitution in a proper time-frame.    

 

Such new starting point comes after excellent failure: Kyoto protocol is the main defendant on trial. It demonstrated how global agreement on challenging objectives could be undermined if human communities play the sole role of “les agìs” in such process.

Renovation means – of course – innovation: through ‘SDGs’ UN launched a permanent call for innovation where sustainability becomes a transversal value to be measured in order to define effective intervention process in every resource-consuming sector.

Such assumption re-launches the “Challenge of Complexity”. In other words it forces the research and the technical application towards interdisciplinary and, in particular, it asks for rigorous assessment methods in order to promote comparisons, sorting criteria, producing lessons learned from previous applications or outstanding projects.

If we focus the perspective in which ‘assessing sustainability’ means ‘assessing long term impacts’ on environmental or human resources, a requested innovation is to deliver products or supply chain models with required necessary features in a resource-scarce domain. If we consider social sustainability, the inclusiveness degree of social dynamics and policies represents an up to date indicator to be defined especially in the current EU development policy-making. If we point on sustainability assessment in anthropic practice: agriculture, industry, land use, urban development (including infrastructure), environmental risks, energy and/or – widely - climate change represents domains both for academic investigations and operative application regarding decision making, production, market and governance. But the list could be as longer as we enlarge the scope of subject areas or implementation domains. That’s the case if will focus on the hot spots: energy, water, and housing, environment, food, soil consumption, urban sprawl, technological innovations, social inclusion, as well as on their combinations.

The Workshop will pay particular attention to methodologies, research reports, case study assessment concerning the various combinations of these and other areas in a multi- and interdisciplinary way.

General research questions to be answered to:

  • how to enhance effectiveness in policy making, planning, development programs etc? looking at actions or procedures based on (or derived by) SDGs or widely applying sustainability principles.

  • Assessing sustainability through place based approach: innovation in methods and practices.

  • Does an assessment matrix help/exist? Comparing different quantitative and qualitative approaches in sustainability evaluation.

  • To learn form failures and to discuss success examples: the critical appraisal of on going concrete practices