04 April 2016

Alumni impressions from The World in 2050: second workshop

Three alumni were among the 68 participants of The World in 2050: second workshop that took place at IIASA on 7-9 March 2016. 

Tiina Häyhä, Marc Levy, Toshihiko Masui

Tiina Häyhä, Marc Levy, Toshihiko Masui

The second workshop of The World in 2050 (TWI2050) kicked-off of the technical phase of the project. TWI2050 is a partnership between science and policy that aims to develop equitable pathways to sustainable development within safe planetary boundaries in order to build human and environmental resilience to global change.

The three alumni who participated in this important workshop are:
Tiina Häyhä, Postdoctoral researcher at Stockholm Resilience Centre and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency; Marc Levy, Deputy Director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at the Earth Institute, Columbia University; and Toshihiko Masui, Head of the Center for Social and Environmental Systems Research at the Japanese National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES). 

Below are their impressions from this important event.

Marc Levy, formerly a research scholar in the IIASA Implementation and Effectiveness of International Environmental Commitments (IEC) Program:

"I was delighted to spend a few days at IIASA as a participant in The World in 2050 meeting.  My last formal association with IIASA was as part of the International Environmental Agreements project over 1993-1996.  Back then we were overwhelmed by how hard it was to make progress on environmental agreements in spite of how modest their ambition was. 

What a contrast to today!  The World in 2050 project is taking a serious look at the Sustainable Development Goals and the newly energized targets of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Together this collection of global goals reflects a commitment by all the world's countries to bring the benefits of development to all of humanity in a sustainable manner. 

The World in 2050 is responding by developing analytic tools to back up the radical aspiration with science-based guidance.  IIASA was one of the very first organizations to bring sustainable development into the mainstream as a research topic so it is fitting and gratifying to be here working on this topic."

Tiina Häyhä's reflections:

"I had the great opportunity to participate in the Young Scientists Summer Program at IIASA in 2013, and it is very nice to be back here for this meeting. The YSSP period at IIASA inspired me to go deeper into the sustainability challenges. In my current research I am developing and strengthening the application of the planetary boundaries concept and connecting it to the broader sustainability framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The World in 2050 project addresses a twin challenge: to take care of human needs while ensuring environmental sustainability. The word is in a new situation where human activities are causing environmental risks not only at local level but increasingly at global scale. Sharing natural resources and environmental responsibilities in a more equitable way is one of the main challenges.  

Assessing alternative sustainability pathways is important to identify possible ways to reach the SDGs and to guide wise decision making. We need an integrated vision where economy, society and environment are seen as interdependent and linked systems, not as separate sectors. This is where TWI2050 project plays a crucial role. In my view, the strength of the project is that it joints different international research groups to gather diverse knowledge on the linkages, constrains and opportunities regarding the SDGs, and to find solutions to achieve them."

Participants in TWI2050: second workshop. Photo: Matthias Silveri | IIASA

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Last edited: 04 April 2016


Monika Bauer

IIASA Network and Alumni Officer Communications and External Relations Department

IIASA Network and Alumni Officer Communications - Communications and External Relations Department

The World In 2050: Second Workshop

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313