A Transitions Perspective  on Governance  for Sustainable Development Derk Loorbach, Niki Frantzeskaki and Wil Thissen  Br...
Key messages  <ul><li>Sustainable development requires transitions </li></ul><ul><li>Transitions can be understood & influ...
On or off track? <ul><li>Our society is unsustainable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate, energy, health-care, education, mobil...
Sustainability transitions <ul><li>Fundamental change of a societal system towards a sustainable system state satisfying s...
Time Water management Dutch Health care Dutch construction sector Sustainable  systems US car industry Financial system Ag...
Understanding transition dynamics From: Rotmans et al, 2000 From: Geels and Kemp, 2001 Predevelopment Stabilization  time ...
Towards transition governance Propositions   Transition process guidelines Research  questions Basic claims  Operational  ...
Proposition 1 <ul><li>Sustainability transitions are long-term processes of fundamental societal change that incorporate p...
Research questions <ul><li>Which are the prevailing patterns of societal transitions? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we distinguish...
Proposition 2 <ul><li>Enabling societal processes of change (transitions) implies deliberate and reflexive strategies that...
Research questions <ul><li>How can we better understand complex evolutions in society to make better use of complex system...
Proposition 3 <ul><li>Innovation and sustainable development are interlinked. More specifically, a focus on sustainability...
Research questions <ul><li>Which modes of governance can promote innovation while securing sustainability values? </li></u...
Proposition 4 <ul><li>Governance for sustainability transitions has to secure sustainability values such as long-term orie...
Research questions <ul><li>How can governance deal with the tensions between promoting continuous innovation while at the ...
Transition governance perspective Propositions   Transition process guidelines Research  questions Basic claims  Operation...
Transition process tenets <ul><li>System dynamics create feasible  &  non-feasible means </li></ul><ul><li>Learning-by-doi...
Operational framework  Strategic (emphasis on system) Tactical (emphasis on subsystems) Experimental  (emphasis on niches)...
Health care transition in NL <ul><li>Transition arena: redefining health care system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>reconnecting to...
Role of researchers <ul><li>Transition research poses a challenge to the scientific community at large:  </li></ul><ul><ul...
Towards transitions research <ul><li>The transition approach focuses on understanding and promoting long-term societal inn...
 
Transition management  radical change in incremental steps  <ul><li>Complex system approach  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reframi...
Transitionizing research:  activist science Sustainability Sciences  History Policy sciences Complexity  research Sociolog...
Co-evolutionary process <ul><ul><li>Basic starting points  rough model (arena)  exp./evaluation  prescriptive model  f...
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A Transitions Perspective on Research for Sustainability

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A Transitions Perspective on Research for Sustainability

  1. 1. A Transitions Perspective on Governance for Sustainable Development Derk Loorbach, Niki Frantzeskaki and Wil Thissen Brussels, 27-05-2009 Sustainable Development: A challenge for European research 28-29 May 2009, Brussels, Belgium
  2. 2. Key messages <ul><li>Sustainable development requires transitions </li></ul><ul><li>Transitions can be understood & influenced </li></ul><ul><li>Governance of transitions requires innovative approaches and research </li></ul>
  3. 3. On or off track? <ul><li>Our society is unsustainable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate, energy, health-care, education, mobility, water, poverty, inequality, … </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sustainable development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Different levels of scale; local-global </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long term process; intergenerational </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple domains; ecologic, economic, socio-cultural </li></ul></ul><ul><li> No fixed goals or definitions; clearly not business as usual </li></ul>
  4. 4. Sustainability transitions <ul><li>Fundamental change of a societal system towards a sustainable system state satisfying sustainability values </li></ul><ul><li>A continuous process in which societal values and interests are represented, negotiated and balanced </li></ul><ul><li>Normative orientation for future oriented action </li></ul><ul><li> fundamental shift from existing practices, structures and culture to new ones </li></ul>
  5. 5. Time Water management Dutch Health care Dutch construction sector Sustainable systems US car industry Financial system Agriculture National energy systems System Sustainability Performance
  6. 6. Understanding transition dynamics From: Rotmans et al, 2000 From: Geels and Kemp, 2001 Predevelopment Stabilization time Societal development Acceleration Take-off Macro-level (landscape, trends) Meso-level (regimes, institutions) Micro-level (Niches, individuals)
  7. 7. Towards transition governance Propositions Transition process guidelines Research questions Basic claims Operational framework Scientific agenda
  8. 8. Proposition 1 <ul><li>Sustainability transitions are long-term processes of fundamental societal change that incorporate processes of societal, ecological, economic, cultural and technological evolution. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Research questions <ul><li>Which are the prevailing patterns of societal transitions? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we distinguish different types of transitions and what does that mean in terms of societal dynamics? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it possible to understand ongoing transitions in which we all are part and if so, are we able to influence these? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Proposition 2 <ul><li>Enabling societal processes of change (transitions) implies deliberate and reflexive strategies that allow for self-orientation of society towards a sustainable development pathway. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Research questions <ul><li>How can we better understand complex evolutions in society to make better use of complex system dynamics? </li></ul><ul><li>Which are the means for governance that can deliberately promote societal transitions while allowing self-organization and self-orientation of the societal system? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Proposition 3 <ul><li>Innovation and sustainable development are interlinked. More specifically, a focus on sustainability could trigger innovations that comply with sustainability values as well as that these innovations can be the stimuli for societal transitions to sustainability. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Research questions <ul><li>Which modes of governance can promote innovation while securing sustainability values? </li></ul><ul><li>Which are means for governance that can create space for innovation that comply with sustainability values apart from regulation and institutionalization? </li></ul><ul><li>Which are means for governance that can accommodate multiple visions while facilitating innovation and adaptation? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Proposition 4 <ul><li>Governance for sustainability transitions has to secure sustainability values such as long-term orientation, balance between different domains and intergenerational justice. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Research questions <ul><li>How can governance deal with the tensions between promoting continuous innovation while at the same time offering social stability and institutional structure? </li></ul><ul><li>Which are the means for governance that incorporate long-term orientation and its uncertainties? </li></ul><ul><li>Which are the means for governance that ensure reflexivity and adaptability in face of long-term processes of transitions to sustainability? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Transition governance perspective Propositions Transition process guidelines Research questions Basic claims Operational framework Scientific agenda
  17. 17. Transition process tenets <ul><li>System dynamics create feasible & non-feasible means </li></ul><ul><li>Learning-by-doing and doing-by-learning </li></ul><ul><li>Radical change in incremental steps </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible and adjustable objectives at the system level </li></ul><ul><li>Creating space in transition arenas and experiments </li></ul><ul><li>A focus on frontrunners </li></ul><ul><li>Guided variation and selection </li></ul><ul><li>Long-term thinking for shaping short-term policy </li></ul><ul><li>Anticipation and adaptation </li></ul>
  18. 18. Operational framework Strategic (emphasis on system) Tactical (emphasis on subsystems) Experimental (emphasis on niches) Monitoring, evaluating and learning Developing images coalitions and transition-agendas Mobilizing actors and executing projects and experiments Problem structuring, establishment of the transition arena and envisioning
  19. 19. Health care transition in NL <ul><li>Transition arena: redefining health care system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>reconnecting to the human, formulating basic sustainability principles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Innovation program: transition experiments and learning community </li></ul><ul><ul><li> over 30 innovative experiments with new health-care concepts linked to vision and pathways </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Transition agenda linking vision to experiments </li></ul><ul><ul><li> multiple pathways, qualitative and quantitative goals </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Role of researchers <ul><li>Transition research poses a challenge to the scientific community at large: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To step over the boundaries of their scientific disciplines so as to develop new insights, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To do research actively in interaction with practitioners and society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To co-produce new tools, methods and approaches </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Towards transitions research <ul><li>The transition approach focuses on understanding and promoting long-term societal innovation to sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Research questions formulated cannot be answered in a traditional way: the empirical object (transitions) is continuously on the move. </li></ul><ul><li>At the end of the day, it is the responsibility of us, scientists, to contribute to sustainability transitions in our own personal way </li></ul>
  22. 23. Transition management radical change in incremental steps <ul><li>Complex system approach </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reframing social problems and developing shared long term perspectives, interests and strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Basic tenets and framework guide experimental governance strategy development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visions, experiments, agenda’s, reflection inform one another </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Building up societal pressure on regime, and seducing regime actors to participate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-actor, frontrunners, experimenting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Framework for science-policy co-production </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Iteration between theory and practice </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. Transitionizing research: activist science Sustainability Sciences History Policy sciences Complexity research Sociology Ecology MODE 1 Action Grounded theory consultancy Applied Participatory MODE 2
  24. 25. Co-evolutionary process <ul><ul><li>Basic starting points  rough model (arena)  exp./evaluation  prescriptive model  formalisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic concept  policy/governance  complexity  framework  refined and grounded TM concept </li></ul></ul>Theoretical stream Operational stream: 1 1 1 2 2 2

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