7. June 2016

Keynote – James Patterson

Transformation and Governance in the WEF Nexus context

Dr. James Patterson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and
The Earth System Governance Project

The notion of ‘transformations towards sustainability’ takes an increasingly prominent position in global sustainability research and policy discussions in recent years. This trend reflects enthusiasm for moving beyond ‘describing problems’ to ‘identifying solutions’, and for better understanding pathways for major societal change towards sustainability. This presentation critically surveys several prominent yet fragmented conceptual approaches for understanding sustainability transformations that have been promoted in the literature. It highlights insights and open questions on the governance and politics of sustainability transformations, which is a critical area that arguably remains under-developed. Emerging interest in sustainability transformations increasingly intersects with unfolding debates about the water-energy-food nexus. It is thus opportune to explore whether ideas about sustainability transformations are useful to research on the water-energy-food nexus.