Study 8: Challenges and opportunities for sustainable development in sectoral clusters
Study 8 under the SD21 project aims to identify the challenges of a transition to sustainability in four broad sectors : cities, agriculture and food, energy, and land use.

Many sectors or clusters of sectors have been the subject of comprehensive assessments in recent years. Some of those assessments have been endorsed by the political community (e.g. IPCC reports), whereas others failed to achieve political consensus (IAASTD) ; still others were expert assessments that were not meant to seek official endorsement by governments (e.g. the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment). However, it is not always clear that the lessons from these assessments have been taken into account in the mainstream political discourse; not is it evident that their implications for how institutions should be changed to respond to perceived inadequacies or threats and what actions should be taken at the international level have been registered by the international community.

As illustrated by the wide range of opinions about the best timing of actions to mitigate climate change, there are broad debates about the "right" sectoral policies that could lead to sustainable development. Various currents within the communities of scientists, economists and policy makers advocate different types of policies, based on their world view. Dimensions in which world views shape policy recommendations include attitudes towards government intervention, direction of intervention, beliefs on how distributional issues should be addressed, and beliefs on the place of corporations and open markets in society.

The study will take an integrated approach of the clusters, and will aim to take stock of the main trends, perceived challenges and risks for the future, in a sustainability perspective. The study will explore how these challenges and priorities are perceived differently under different "world views", and how different world views dictate different priorities for action in the selected clusters.

The study will highlight the recommendations that are put forward in specific sectoral clusters based on different "world views" and contrast them, assessing commonalities and differences across these views; and assessing those recommendations in view of sectoral and cross-sectoral development literature and when applicable existing assessments.
United Nations