Integrated Policies for Sustainable Societies
The Balaton Group discusses Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)
The annual Balaton Group meeting took place at Lake Balaton in Hungary from 11-16 September, 2014. Dennis and Donella Meadows originally founded the Balaton Group in 1982 to discuss the limits to growth and how key challenges to sustainability can be overcome. The 2014 meeting brought together approximately 50 experts with backgrounds in modelling, systems thinking and many other aspects of sustainability to discuss how the future sustainable development goals (SDGs) can advance sustainability.
Discussions were organised around a series of presentations that focused on different aspects of sustainable development, with a particular emphasis on the interfaces between different disciplines and sectors. The presentations were followed by in-depth discussions on future actions and implementation.
Key themes highlighted during the presentations and discussions included challenges for the SDGs process on the road to 2015 and lessons from the millennium development goals (MDGs). IGES presented preliminary findings on the use of integrated modelling to inform policy and decision making at the national levels. Going ahead it would be important to view the set of SDGs as a SYSTEM, possibly using integrated models or modelling as a conceptual process to clarify the connections between the different elements of that system. This also included a discussion on the state of science-policy as well as science-public interfaces and the potential for science to inform and influence decision making.
Other debates highlighted the importance of creating a shared vision and a story worth telling (and listening to) on how a more sustainable society can be achieved. Group members also pointed out that inclusive system approaches are important to transcend the traditional boundaries between different strands of science, and emphasised the interlinkages between disciplines and dimensions of development.
Certainly, the discussions were very varied, but one of the main take-away points was the importance of addressing crucial but difficult issues when crafting a transformative development agenda. For example, it will be critical to identify and include targets and indicators on population dynamics, the economic and financial sector, military spending and good governance in the future SDG package. Tackling these difficult issues will help trigger the necessary transformative change toward sound and sustainable development in the coming years.
|Date||11-15 September 2014|
|Venue||Balatonszemes, Lake Balaton, Hungary|
|Organisers||Key members of the Balaton Group|
|Making use of integrated models in SDG implementation planning:Demand-side perspectives from the national level
Simon Olsen, Task Manager / Senior Policy Researcher, Regional Centre, IGES