Special Issue "World Sustainability Forum 2017—Selected Papers"
A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2017)
Prof. Dr. Manfred Max Bergman
Chair of Social Research and Methodology, Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel, Petersgraben 11, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
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Interests: empirical research on society and economy, leadership, industry initiatives, sustainable consumption, mobility, and corporate responsibility
The adoption of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in September 2015, was accompanied by what insiders considered an optimism they have not experienced in relation to UN resolutions before. The relative efficiency in the drafting, the lack of trenches between East and West, or between North and South, and the unanimity of support of the 193 countries speak volumes. In stark contrast, sustainability and dealing with it could be the poster child for what Robert Horn called a social mess (2007: 6): “a set of interrelated problems … resistant to analysis and, more importantly, to resolution.” Characteristics of a social mess, generally, and sustainability, specifically, include an absence of a unique and correct solution, interrelatedness of problems, ideological constraints, multiple possible intervention points, resistance to change, value conflict, and political and economic constraints. While these are excellent ingredients for a thorough academic debate, the issues underpinning the sustainability debate are so urgent that, beyond academic reflection and research, much more is necessary than what academics, political leaders, administrators, industry, nations, communities, and individuals are habitually prepared to do.
Based on the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, sustainability refers to the “collective responsibility to advance and strengthen the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development—economic development, social development and environmental protection—at the local, national, regional and global levels.” Conference topics at this forum may include food, nutrition, agriculture, water, technology, energy, economics, sustainable cities, land management, migration, lifestyles and consumption, business and management, and corruption.
The World Sustainability Forum 2017, held in South Africa, aims at contributing not only to international debates but, more specifically, to enable an exchange, which sensitizes the international community to the urgency, specifics, and existent knowledge base of sustainability on the African continent, and the African research community about international perspectives on sustainability. To do justice to the topic, we aim to include contributions not only from national and international academic perspectives, but we also hope to attract a diverse audience that includes members from the political and business sectors. For better or worse, the next few decades will be marked by a profound engagement in sustainability research and policy—and Africa is profoundly influencing and being influenced by global developments. This is an excellent opportunity for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to engage with this topic, to become aware of the urgency of the issues, and to recognize individual, collective, and national opportunities associated therewith.
As part of the output of this conference, we plan to publish a Special Issue in Water for the thematic areas. We, the chairs of the conference as well as the organizing institutions, are looking forward to welcoming you at the 6th World Sustainability Forum in Cape Town/South Africa from 27 to 28 January 2017.
Prof. Dr. Manfred Max Bergman
Manuscript Submission Information
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