Sustainability is one of the four central research domains that UGlobe explores within the overarching theme of global challenges and the contested global order.

Professor Cedric Ryngaert on UGlobe and collaboration across disciplines

Climate change and population growth will pose incredible sustainability challenges to future generations. Even in spite of developments such as increasing nationalism and “fact-free politics”, existing global institutions and normative frameworks do not seem well-prepared to respond appropriately to these challenges.

Especially pressing is the apparent incapacity of contemporary institutions to anticipate future developments: to enable and encourage long-term decision-making rather than political short-termism. It is therefore necessary to critically and imaginatively develop alternative perspectives on institutions of sustainability governance. UGlobe will particularly attempt to develop long-term perspectives on the global order that are compatible with the requirements of sustainable development as well as the normative basis of open societies: human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainability is concerned with the resilience of natural systems and ecological assets in the face of global economic and social forces that contribute to environmental degradation. Over the last decades, the concept of sustainability has been absorbed by the cognate, although more comprehensive concept of sustainable development. In 2016, world leaders put sustainable development at the centre of a global development strategy by adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to end poverty and reduce inequality while protecting the planet and tackling climate change. The SDGs are a useful rallying point to connect the various research fields of UGlobe, in that they integrate the objectives of inclusion, socio-economic rights, and environmental justice in one agenda.    

Given alarming reports on environmental degradation and global warming, global sustainability poses one of the key governance challenges of our time. UGlobe investigates how the concepts of sustainability and resilience , including their social, legal and moral dimensions can be theorized and operationalized in a global perspective. It inquires what political processes and institutional mechanisms are suitable to organize a sustainable, but also just and prosperous society. It seeks to identify measures that curb the negative side-effects of transnational economic activity, as well as arrangements that facilitate and increase the speed of transition towards a sustainable society.

I’m a lawyer, but I can work together with, for instance, historians or hard scientists and this makes it possible to give a more holistic answer to the challenges of our time.