TWI2050 Report: Transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

First report prepared by The World in 2050 initiative.



Humanity is at crossroads. Unbounded growth is endangering planetary support systems and increasing inequalities, the rich are getting richer and the poor even poorer. The transformation towards sustainable futures is an alternative possibility for people and the planet – a just and equitable world for all. This is exactly what the United Nations 2030 Agenda (adopted on 27 September 2015) offers and is thus a great gift to humanity. It presents a new social contract with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is an aspirational and ambitious vision for the future betterment of humanity and it gives strong reasoning for fact-based understanding of the interrelationships and synergies among the SDGs.

The World in 2050 (TWI2050) was established by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) to provide scientific foundations for the 2030 Agenda. It is based on the voluntary and collaborative effort of more than 60 authors from about 20 institutions, and some 100 independent experts from academia, business, government, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations from all the regions of the world, who met three times at IIASA to develop pathways toward achieving the SDGs. Presentations of the TWI2050 approach and work have been shown at many international meetings including the United Nations Science, Technology and Innovation Forums and the United Nations High-level Political Forums. Two important meetings were held, one focusing on governance organized by the German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn, Germany and the other on regional perspectives organized by the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) held in Kigali, Rwanda.

This report examines the current trends and dynamics that promote and jeopardize the achievement of the SDGs. It presents the TWI2050 framework, the integrated pathways which harness the synergies and multiple benefits across SDGs, and approaches to governing this sustainability transformation. TWI2050 identifies six exemplary transformations which will allow achieving the SDGs and long-term sustainability to 2050 and beyond:

Six major transformations

The report provides policy recommendations on how to achieve integrated pathways that implement these transformations. Eight key messages of the report:

  1. Transformation towards a sustainable future is possible but ambitious action is needed now!
  2. Six transformations that are necessary to achieve the SDGs!
  3. Attaining the SDGs in a resilient and lasting way, requires vigorous action now, and a people and planet focus beyond 2030!
  4. As everything is integrated in the connected world, the grand transformation requires a holistic perspective!
  5. Transformational change is needed but to succeed we must take along winners and losers!
  6.  The world is at crossroads as we are currently experiencing signs of a counter-transformation!
  7. A central element of the sustainability transformation is effective and inclusive governance!    
  8. Think globally, act locally! Think long-term, act now! It is all a matter of scale!

Recommended citation:
TWI2050 - The World in 2050 (2018). Transformations to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Report prepared by the World in 2050 initiative. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria.

Available at:

Link to report launch: July 12 at the High-level Political Forum 2018 in New York.

Further events with TWi2050 involvement at HLPF 2018.

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Last edited: 27 August 2020


Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Distinguished Emeritus Research Scholar Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program

DOWNLOAD TWI2050 Report 2018

Transformations to Achieve the SDGs

Transformations to Achieve the SDGs

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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