SD21 Project reports

SD21 summary for policymakers

The summary for policy-makers highlights the main messages from the project. It aims at framing the terms of the sustainable development debate as they are today. By exposing areas of differences on sustainable development visions, goals, and strategies, and difficulties in implementation, it also aim to provide an analytic frame for understanding normative reports that have been produced for Rio+20.

Food and agriculture: sustainability for the 21st century

On our current trajectory, severe disruptions to national and regional food systems are highly likely to happen - the main question is when. Exposing unforeseen areas of consensus - with contributions from more than 70 global agri-food leaders in the business, policy, green, and social arenas - the report lays out concrete steps for sustainable and resilient food and agriculture systems. By opening the silos of partisan thinking to invite reasoned discussion, it also exposes areas of disagreement and advances a key set of specific "high impact" areas where smart decisions will make the most difference.

Assessment of implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Principles

This component of the project aimed to provide a quick but systematic assessment of the implementation of the 27 Rio Principles, as well as of progress and gaps in the implementation of 39 Chapters of Agenda 21. A synthesis distills the essential messages from those two detailed reviews.

Challenges and ways forward in the urban sector

This study highlights some of the top challenges and priorities for the next 30-50 years in the urban sector and illustrates the increasing role of cities for achieving sustainability. The study takes stock of developments in the urban agenda since 1992 and outlines some of cities' new responsibilities linked with rapid urbanization and metropolitanization. It makes a case for integrated action to solve urban sustainability challenges, including governance and inclusion, and explores the vertical relationships between cities and higher levels of government and their implications for sustainability.

Building a Sustainable and Desirable Economy-in-Society-in-Nature

This report is a synthesis of ideas about what a new economy-in-society-in-nature might look and how we might get there. The report argues that now is the right time for the transition to a new economic paradigm. It lays out a vision, objectives and concrete policies that could underpin a new model of the economy based on the worldview and principles of "ecological economics," including sustainable scale, equitable distribution and efficient allocation - a model where GDP growth is not the ultimate goal. The report makes a case for a greatly expanded commons sector of the economy and new common asset institutions to adequately deal with natural and social capital assets.

Sustainable energy systems

Polarized and politicized views dominate the energy debate, at national, regional and global levels. This study documents the main views exist today, and suggests common 'no regret' directions for taking the debate forward to achieve sustainability in the energy sector - understood as enabling universal access to modern energy, ensuring that energy systems are managed in a sustainable way, and managing the broader interactions of the energy system with other sub-systems of modern societies.

Lessons learned from scenarios for sustainable development

This report is a collaborative effort of 49 global modelers and scenario analysts. It draws lessons from 40 years of global sustainable development scenarios based on 98 models, with a particular focus on the most recent scenarios, many of which have been created specifically for Rio+20. Scenarios are documented in terms of ultimate goals, visions, strategy, including goals and targets, pathway characteristics, and policies and actions, as well as investment needs. Past trends towards sustainable development are compared with baseline scenarios for the future which are contrasted against sustainable development scenarios. Various synergies and trade-offs are discussed for a range of clusters of sustainable development goals. The study makes a case for renewed efforts to create global sustainable development scenarios that can resolve the most important trade-offs. It also critically reviews scenario-analysis at the science-policy interface, and makes suggestions for institutional change in this regard.

Sustainable land management for the 21st century

This study examines the choices confronting us in terms of managing competing claims to land use in the 21st century. It synthesizes our knowledge of the processes by which land use changes occur today, in link with international and national drivers, national policies, and local contexts. It examines the strengths and shortcomings of current land use management systems and trends of land use change in countries at different levels of development and their implications for the prospects for international instruments based on land use change control. The report also suggests possible options to improve the sustainability of land management for the next decades.

United Nations