2014 – SUSTAIN: The Sustainability of Regional Governance

Contemporary challenges, from the global economic crisis to climate change, have revealed the strengths and weaknesses of regional integration throughout the world.
The Euro-crisis, for instance, has exerted a strain on the EU’s model of top-down governance, while reinforcing the pace (and changing the form) of integration in Europe.
Similarly, climate change is forcing us to rethink the current economic model based on globalized markets and GDP growth.
In a recent report for the European Commission and endorsed by the European Parliament, futurist Jeremy Rifkin has argued that the shift to a low carbon economy and the consequential contraction of the economic system will contribute to a shrinking of globalization (at least in its pro-market orientation) while paving the way to the resurgence of ‘continental regions’. In his view, production processes will be increasingly localized and resources will be managed and shared regionally, with a view to creating hubs of sustainability within geographically continuous continents.
This will fundamentally reshape regional integration and its ultimate goals. As conventional market mechanisms are reformed and production systems are reinvented, more and more regional integration will be built from the bottom up, through what Rifkin calls ‘lateral power’, that is, the capacity to affect change through peer-to-peer collaboration. In a word, a citizens-driven development model.

Against this backdrop, SUSTAIN will bring together top scholars of regional governance, civil society and business to reflect on what ‘sustainable regional integration’ entails for regionalism and what new governance ‘innovations’ will be necessary to achieve this objective.

Funding: EU Jean Monnet Research and Information Activities

Agriculture, decoupling and sustainability in South America: The role of new technologies and their implementation, risks and chances

Agriculture,decoupling and sustainability in South America: The role of new technologies and their implementation, risks and chances

Authored by Dr Walter A. Dengue

The world’s population is projected to grow to 8 billion by 2030 with increasing global demands for essential resources. It is projected for example that demands for food will increase by up to 50 per cent, water by 35‐60 per cent and energy by 45 per cent. Without significant productivity increases or decreases in the global per capita consumption of food and non‐food biomass, the world’s rapidly growing population will inevitably lead to an expansion of global cropland. The data shows that the gross expansion of cropland under ‘business as usual’ conditions will be 21 ‐ 55{4b05898ae60f9b5e2d93b69cb2027f6f0d06dfa7d8f8611bbe8472c2532adfa6} from 2005 to 2050.


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India’s Sustainability Transition: of What and for Whom?

Authored by Lydia Powell

(June 2014)

The domestic policies and international positions of the Indian government can be discerned on the right side of the sustainability discourse. India’s 12th, five year plan (2012‐2017), described in over a 1000 pages is based on the theme ‘faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth’. The word ‘sustainable’ appears over 200 times in the three volumes of the document which describe plans for sustaining everything from economic growth and finance to the environment and forests. The document affirms the government’s commitment to global sustainability by pointing out that India is a signatory to over 94 multilateral environmental agreements including the Kyoto Protocol. Unfortunately all these policy pronouncements are unlikely to put India on the path of true sustainability. There are two related but seemingly contradictory reasons for this.


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