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Sustainable development has become an overarching policy target for the global policy arena. However, the international policy-making process and that of the individual countries remains largely sectoral in nature: a wide spectrum of international policies pursue narrow sectoral concerns and do not contribute fully enough to the achievement of broader sustainability targets. New policy tools such as Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) have therefore been adopted by the European Union to ensure that sectoral policies can be evaluated in relation to their wider sustainability impacts. However, what is really needed is a cross-sectoral approach to assessing sustainable development at an even higher, much more strategic level: Integrated Sustainability Assessment (ISA). ISA involves a longterm, comprehensive assessment of international ...
transitions;system innovations;transition management;sustainable development;societal innovation;governance;complex systems;social theory;corporate social responsibility;interdisciplinary
Jan Rotmans (1961) is one of the founders of Integrated Assessment (IA), and has outstanding experience in IA modeling, scenario-building, uncertainty management and transition management. During the past twenty years he has led a diversity of innovative projects in the field of climate change, global change, sustainable development and transitions and system innovations. He is founder and director of the International Centre for Integrative Studies (ICIS) (1998) at Maastricht University. Since 2004 he is a full professor in Transitions and Transition Management at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where he founded the DRIFT-institute: Dutch Research Institute For Transitions. He is vice-president of The Integrated Assessment Society (TIAS), and founder and director of the Dutch Knowledge Network on System Innovations an...
Our society faces a number of persistent problems whose symptoms are becoming more and more apparent. Persistent problems are complex because they are: deeply embedded in our societal structures; uncertain because of the hardly reducible structural uncertainty they include; difficult to manage with a variety of actors with diverse interests involved; and hard to grasp, in the sense that they are difficult to interpret and ill-structured (Dirven et al. 2002). Persistent problems are the superlative form of what Rittel and Webber (1973) refer to as ‘wicked’ problems. Examples of persistent problems are: the energy problem with anthropogenic climate change as manifestation; the agricultural problem with symptoms such as animal diseases such as bird flu, mad cow disease and foot-and-mouth disease; the water problem illustrated by major flo...
This paper reports on the research outcomes and practical experiences with transitions and transition management in the Netherlands. Transitions are phenomena that receive increasing interest from researchers, policy-makers and the business community as an integrated paradigm for dealing with persistent unsustainability problems as well as with structuring activities aiming at radical breakthroughs towards sustainability. Within the Netherlands, the Dutch research network on System Innovations and Transitions (KSI) and the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) have functioned as the core centres for research and practices in this area.
Begin jaren negentig formeerde Jan Rotmans op het RIVM in Bilthoven de GLOBOonderzoeksgroep, die onderzoek deed naar mondiale verandering en duurzame ontwikkeling. Centraal in dit onderzoek stond het begrip transitie en de eerste serie transitie-experimenten werden gedaan met het TARGETS-model (Rotmans 1997). Ook bij de VN introduceerde Rotmans de notie van transities, bij de Commissie Duurzame Ontwikkeling, in wiens opdracht hij een evaluatie maakte van de UNCED-conferentie in Rio in 1992. Dit resulteerde in het rapport ‘Critical Trends’ (UN 1997), een mondiale, integrale trendanalyse waarin het begrip transitie de kern vormde.
• our society faces a number of persistent problems • unsustainability is the symptom of the persistence of these problems • many examples: climate change, energy supply, water problem, mobility problem, agriculture, health care • persistence is due to system failures and requires a system break and system shift: transition
In this article we present four different cases of transition management in which we were involved over the past 10 years. Transition management was developed in the course of this period in theoretical and practical sense, mainly in the Netherlands, as novel mode of governance for sustainable development. The theoretical debate about transition management is being increasingly published, but so far only few empirical examples were. In this article we present four cases that combined give a representative illustration of both the advantages and the difficulties of actually trying to manage transitions. The article ends by drawing lessons and formulating research questions for the future.
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