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Feature Article

Into the Danger Zone: Using Integrated Risk Governance Research for Sustainability

Editor's Note: This article is from the most recent edition of our Dimensions magazine titled "Moving Targets", which edition provides social science perspectives on the formation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Read, download or order a hard copy here.

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With extreme disaster events becoming increasingly common, the architects of sustainable development should look to integrated risk governance research for help in management and mitigation.

Qian Ye and Peijun Shi

The global scientific research community has for decades warned that the world is entering a new and uncertain geological era, known as the Anthropocene.(1) In this new era large scale disasters—the results of myriad known and unknown human and natural causes and exceeding the coping capacity of even the most capable socio-ecological systems—are increasingly threatening global sustainability.(2) Reducing losses caused by natural disasters and reinforcing public safety are arduous but important priorities for all levels of governments in the world in reaching their sustainable development goals. To better govern global systemic risks, however, it has been recognized by the scientific community that a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary community of natural scientists, social scientists, engineers, policymakers, educators and other practitioners from around the world is needed in order to deal with high degree of complexity of inter-connected disaster chains.

2 September 2013 | Read more

Interview

Change Making

Editor's Note: This article is from the most recent edition of our Dimensions magazine titled "Moving Targets", which edition provides social science perspectives on the formation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Read, download or order a hard copy here.

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UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova about education, transformation and UNESCO’s role in our sustainable future

Irina Bokova

Dimensions: The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and now the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have been developed as global targets. At the same time, many of the goals and targets are context-specific, and inextricable from culture, religion, race, institutions and politics. How can this be resolved? Should the SDGs be global targets, or do you think it would be better for each country to provide their own set of targets to be accepted by the global community, and with the responsibility for reaching those targets lying with the individual countries themselves?

Irina Bokova: At the Rio+20 Conference, Member States agreed that the SDGs should be “global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities”. I concur with the view of the UN Technical Task Team to the Open Working Group on SDGs that it is indeed important to have a universal framework of the SDGs including a common set of goals, while at the same time allowing adaptation to national priorities, capacities and contexts of development. Various ways to realize this flexibility could be conceivable. The targets under each goal could either be adapted to national circumstances or countries could prioritize, choosing from multiple targets. With respect to the content of the upcoming development agenda, let me add that in my view, the Millennium Declaration embodies a great humanist ambition to promote the human rights and dignity of everyone; it is as relevant as ever and should inspire the post-2015 development framework. |Read more

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