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Scope of the conference

With "Taking up the Global Challenge" as the motto we focus this year's 15th version of the ISDR Conference on the scientific analysis of the key factors explaining successes (and failure) in the many practices of implementation of innovations and governance for sustainable development, both in the North and the South, and in the West and the East. Our starting point is that the need for sustainable development is clearly enough stated with far-reaching targets for the next few decades. The need for fundamental changes have been sufficiently identified in documents, programs and presentations like UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Global Environmental Outlook GEO-4 and European Environmental Outlook, the Gore's Inconvenient Truth, the Eleventh Hour, the  IPCC 4th Assessment Reports.

In various parts of the world environmental policies have partly been successful in the last 2 decades in achieving a decoupling of welfare growth and their negative impacts. Some are optimistic about opportunities for further and sufficient successes in creating eco-efficient economies via the route of faster diffusion of (sometimes radical) new technologies, while others argue that more substantial changes in the 'affluent' lifestyles and it's institutions are needed to allow for a fairly distributed welfare for future generations on our single globe.
Recent accelerating global developments emphasize the relevance of the key question linked to these debates: what do current practices of implementing sustainability initiatives and strategies (in the fields adaptation to climate change, creating sustainable cities and rural communities, promotion of sustainable production and consumption, nature conservation and protection of biodiversity) teach us about the speed and rate of adoption: are they substantially contributing to the global challenge and what factors do determine their success? These questions should be seen in the context of:

The conference gives us the opportunity to examine these key questions, using the experiences of the many practices nowadays implementing sustainable development in the various domains of society (new technologies, new materials, renewable energy, regional development, water management, nature conservation, sustainable production and consumption) in countries all over the world. We will focus on the lessons as shown in academic research on the factors determining their success and link these to the applied innovative policies and multi stakeholder approaches developed to support these practices.

We challenge all contributors to present these experiences in forms contributing to answering the main conference questions:

These questions require solid empirical research and case work, which needs to be linked to the overall perspectives in sustainability science. The conference offers a platform for answering these questions, open for the various relevant disciplines and their methodologies. Roughly, the working field of the conference can be described as environmental studies; the broad array of social science and environment related disciplines, connected to the development and implementation of strategies of change towards sustainable development, closely connected to the analysis of sources of environmental degradation and assessment of needed social, technological and economic changes. In this way, just like in recent years, the conference is linked to the field of business, local planning, policy studies, management, innovations, global issues, development planning, knowledge and technology transfer to developing countries and developing country issues.

We welcome studies explaining the success of sustainability strategies and practices in national, sectoral and regional cases, cross country comparisons and in international relations. We provide a platform for debate on studies applying different research methodologies.

As the central thread we will promote the debate on the key question whether the developments in these practices and their mainstreaming are sufficiently substantial to face the fast growing global wealth and its implications in the coming decades. 
We will structure the debate in 5 main themes and their various track subjects: 'Sustainability Science' with the overarching perspective, the three fields of application: 'climate change and energy', 'sustainable land use and regional planning'; and 'innovation for sustainable production and consumption' and finally 'governance for sustainable development'. In all these themes we convene developing and developed world perspectives.