Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals: Towards a New Social Contract

Hosted at the University of Reims on June 19-21, 2013
Organized by HABITER Lab. with the participation of Ignacy Sachs and Carlo Rubbia.

In 2013, the United Nations will take stock of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). It is inevitable that the question of what to do next will be asked. What to do after the expiry of the MDG in 2015? The goal of the Third Rencontres Internationales de Reims in Sustainability Studies is to contribute to this debate, to produce some elements to answer to this question about sustainability. Particular attention will be paid to environmental governance, regional development and social justice.

The Millennium Declaration proclaimed the “collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level” . Of course, but how to go beyond lip service and do it concretely? More precisely, how to take into consideration new global phenomena such as and of the dimension of climate change, the depletion of natural resources, financial crises, demographic dynamics, migrations and mobility.

Moreover, the political, environmental and economic context has deeply changed. Emerging countries have become the center of all attentions, given that their economies make the world go around. In the mean time, disparities among developing countries and within them are still too high. Environmental performance indicators greatly suffered at the same time, particularly in developing countries. With the diffusion of the transition to sustainability, new actors have emerged, especially in the private, associative and local sphere. They joined traditional institutional actors such as states and international organizations. It is not an accident that the two major topics of Rio+20—during which the negotiations of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals were launched—were “the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” and “the institutional framework for sustainable development.”

Indeed, the institutional framework for sustainable development is not yet very stable, as shown by the Second Rencontres de Reims in Sustainability Studies last September. In particular, the recurring question of coordination mechanisms – be it at the local, regional, national or international level – is far from settled. But that’s not all: the effectiveness of sustainable policies lies largely in their acceptance, in their collective appropriation, which is indirectly related to institutional arrangements. To think about post-2015 also means—in the tercentenary of the birth of Jean-Jacques Rousseau—to define a new social contract and to include stakeholders, neighborhood communities and groups of individuals capable of forming voluntary associations among the major players of sustainable development.

To determine the conditions and forms of this new social contract is the third objective of the Third Rencontres Internationales de Reims in Sustainability Studies. This is done in the footsteps of Elinor Ostrom, who showed that communities of interest or neighborhoods could be more effective in collectively managing commons than the market or traditional organizational structures.

It is important, in fact, in order to shape truly sustainable policies, to define what constitutes a “good” environment for the societies involved: one in which the improvement of environmental conditions strictly speaking (water quality, air pollution, biodiversity, rational use of resources, soils and energy, etc.) will lead to the improvement of living conditions; one in which technical devices and technologies, deployed in spaces large enough to accommodate imported sustainability, may be appropriate through new lifestyles.


Wednesday 19 June 2013

9.00am – Welcome around a coffee pot
9.45am – Inaugural address

Marie-Hélène Aubert, Adviser to the President of French Republic for International Negotiations on Climate and Environment

10.00am – Welcome speech

Gilles Baillat, President, Rheims University

10.10am – Opening

François Mancebo, Professor, Rheims University – Director, International Research Center on Sustainability (IRCS)

Inaugural Speech

10.20am – Managing the Anthropocenic Era: the IPCC legacy ten years after

Carlo Rubbia, Scientific Director, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam – Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1984

10.45am – Rousseau, Rio and the Green Economy

Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

11.10am – Integrating Equity Considerations Into the SDGs

Leena Srivastava, Vice Chancellor, TERI University and Executive Director, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Delhi

11.35am – Debate – Lunch

Toward a New Social Contract?

2.30pm – Issue Linkage and the Prospects for SDGs Contribution to Sustainability

Peter Haas, Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

2.05pm – Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance

Frank Biermann, Professor and Head, Department of Environmental Policy Analysis, VU University Amsterdam, and Director-General, Netherlands Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment

3.20pm – Debate – Break
4.05pm – Putting the Individual at the Centre of Development: Indicators for a New Social Contract

Arthur Dahl, President, International Environment Forum (IEF), and former Deputy Assistant Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

4.30pm – Reflections on Global Energy Governance and Post-2015 SDGs

Nigel Jollands, Principal Policy Manager for Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

4.55pm – Debate – Break

Partners Intervention

5.40pm – Suez Environnement

Thomas Perianu, Director Sustainable Development at Suez Environnement

5.55pm – UNITAR

Alex Mejia, Director of Local Development Programme of UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research)

6.10pm – Debate – Break

Thuesday 20 June 2013

9.00am – Welcome around a coffee pot


10.00am – Plea For a New Social Contract

Ignacy Sachs, Honorary Professor of Development Economics, School of Advanced Social Studies (EHESS), Paris

10.25am – The Future of Global Environmental Governance

Maria Ivanova, Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Center for Governance and Sustainability, McCormack – Graduate School, University of Massachusetts, Boston

10.50am – Debate
11.25am – A Global Social Pact: Can We Really Design Global Development Objectives?

Christian Comeliau, Honorary Professor of Development Economics, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

11.45am – The Collaboration Paradigm: a New Pact For the Knowledge Economy

Ladislau Dowbor, Professor of Economics, Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo

12.10am – Debate – Lunch


2.30pm – Legitimacy of Global Energy Governance

Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Assistant Professor of Public Administration and Policy, Wagenigen University

2.55pm – The Rescaling of Global Environmental Governance

Liliana Andonova, Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, as well as Co-Director, Center for International Environmental Studies, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

3.20pm – Debate – Break
4.05pm – Governance Options for Steering Transition to Low-Carbon Cars

Marc DijkMarc Dijk, Research Fellow, International Center for Integrated Assessment and Sustainable Development (ICIS), Maastricht University

4.30pm – Sustainable Development Governance in Transboundary Mountain Regions: Lessons and Prospects

Jörg Balsiger, Senior Researcher and Lecturer, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH), as well as Senior Researcher, Department of Geography and Environment, University of Geneva

4.55pm – Debate
5.30pm – Closure

François Mancebo, Professor, Rheims University and director of the IRCS

Next events

Underground Cities - Living Below the Surface: Supporting Urban Transition to Sustainability

The next Rencontres de Reims in sustainability studies will be host on October 2016 on the theme of "Underground Cities".
The third dimension of the city concerned, essentially, height growth. However, basements are already important components of urban operation and more and more cities around the world are also considering their development underground.
The sixth Rencontres Internationales de Reims in Sustainability Science meet, to discuss this subject, eight leading researchers: Jeremy Rifkin, Alain Berthoz, Alain Bourdin, Catherine Grout, Amos Kloner, François Mancebo, Aurèle Parriaux and Sylvie Salles.
This event will take place on Wednesday 26 and Thursday, October 27, 2016 in Reims (Faculty of Arts and Humanities).

You could visit the web page of the event for more information.

Past events

5th Rencontres

Urban Agriculture

15-16 October 2015

4th Rencontres

Urban Transition to Sustainability

24-26 June 2014

1st Summer School

Urban Transition to Sustainability

23-26 June 2014

3rd Rencontres

Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals:
Towards a New Social Contract

19-20 June 2013

2nd Rencontres

Which Systems of Governance for Which Sustainability after Rio+20?

26-27 September 2012

1st Rencontres

Social Justice and Sustainability:
Back to Planning?

22-23 June 2011