Abstract

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, more widely known as ‘Rio+20’, was a significant global political event, but it left many important questions relating to the future of sustainability governance unanswered. 

A series expert views on the future of sustainability are brought together in a special issue of the journal Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy.  

Edited by Harriet Bulkeley, Andy Jordan, Richard Perkins and Henrik Selin, the collection includes papers by inter alia James Meadowcroft, Adrian Smith, Olivia Bina, Kersty Hobson and Frank Biermann. Together they: (i) explore the current status of governance for sustainability in the aftermath of Rio+20; (ii) investigate whether or not sustainable development still has political and institutional relevance; and (iii) debate the institutional and political opportunities and obstacles for governing sustainability in the future. 

The editorial paper argues that both sustainability governance and the sustainable development concept are under growing pressure amid a perceived failure to deliver change. But it identifies three opportunities to advance them both: (i) by reframing the way in which problems of unsustainability are described and approached; (ii) via the formulation of effective sustainable development goals; and (iii) by identifying novel ways to open up the sustainable development debate to more actors and interests.

Table of Contents

Bulkeley, Harriet, Andrew Jordan, Richard Perkins, Henrik Selin (guest editors). 2013. “Governing sustainability: Rio+20 and the road beyond.” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(6), 958 – 970.

Linnér, Björn-Ola, Henrik Selin. 2013. “The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development: forty years in the making.” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(6), 971 – 987. 

Meadowcroft, James. 2013. “Reaching the limits? Developed country engagement with sustainable development in a challenging conjuncture.” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(6), 988 – 1002. 

Perkins, Richard. 2013. “Sustainable development and the making and unmaking of a developing world.” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(6), 1003 – 1022. 

Bina, Olivia. 2013. “The green economy and sustainable development: an uneasy balance?” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(6), 1023 – 1047. 

Lawhon, Mary, Zarina Patel. 2013. “Scalar politics and local sustainability: rethinking governance and justice in an era of political and environmental change.” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(6), 1048 – 1062. 

Ely, Adrian, Adrian Smith, Andy Stirling, Melissa Leach, Ian Scoones. 2013. “Innovation politics post-Rio+20: hybrid pathways to sustainability?” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(6), 1063 – 1081. 

Hobson, Kersty. 2013. “‘Weak’ or ‘strong’ sustainable consumption? Efficiency, degrowth, and the 10 Year Framework of Programmes.” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(6), 1082 – 1098. 

Biermann, Frank. 2013. “Curtain down and nothing settled: global sustainability governance after the ‘Rio+20’ Earth Summit.” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(6), 1099 – 1114. 

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