Topic E: Understanding the processes of societal transformations in different contexts

There is a growing consensus that deep systemic changes – transformations – are needed to achieve the SDGs and other global agreements in the next decade.

Transformation and transformative action have become common phrases in policy and public action, as well as in many areas of contemporary scientific inquiry. But what does transformation mean? How do we recognize processes with the potential for fundamental or radical systems change? There is a growing body of evidence on these issues. Whilst its focus falls predominantly on the challenges of global sustainability, its foundations have been built by sustained scholarship in the social and human sciences that addresses complex and often contested processes of socio-political, economic and cultural change, and the belief systems and institutional power structures that facilitate or obstruct it. This body of knowledge needs to be further harnessed and synthesized, and effectively utilized in the service of the 2030 Agenda.

Harnessing scientific knowledge on processes of societal transformations, past and present

Areas for scientific inquiry include:

Creating culture, beliefs and behaviour change, and building capacities for biosphere stewardship

Areas for scientific inquiry include:


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