M. Akhtar-Schuster; C.Textor; H. Egner; J. Jetzkowitz; M. Kowarsch; J. Settele

Towards a virtual collaboration platform for inter- and transdisciplinary research in support of international environmental policy that puts people at the focus: a new role for social sciences and the humanities

in DLR Project Management Agency, 08.06.2018

Sonstige , Scientific Assessments, Ethics, and Public Policy

In recent decades natural sciences have identified human-caused environmental risks across scales that threaten natural systems, livelihoods, human well-being and development. Recent landmark UN agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction are political responses aiming at mitigating risks and fostering development.

International scientific assessments at the science-policy interface, which have been undertaken for example by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have played an important role in the establishment of these recent UN agreements. In the past, such international scientific assessments have been led by natural sciences as well as technical sciences and economics. Today, there is a growing recognition in international environmental for that social sciences and humanities (SSH) are required to inform environmental policy. SSH can enable the implementation of UN agreements, because they can contribute to the identification of relevant, realistic and feasible solutions for sustainable development, human wellbeing and human security.

Nowadays society takes a much more active role in designing political decisions than in the past. The perspective on societies worldwide is increasingly transforming to highly complex structures and processes, which also shape science-based solutions for sustainable development. SSH can objectify complexity in order to promote awareness of, involvement in, and consensus-finding for policies and actions. It is essential to systemise such knowledge and thereby foster learning in transformations towards sustainability. This knowledge also provides a context to involve non-academic forms of knowledge in environmental policy. 

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