FAQ

What is the desired impact of this project?

Who are the targeted users of SHAPE’s work?

What are the reasons to use the SHAPE scenarios – the SDPs?

How is SHAPE handling issues that IAMs don’t capture well?

Are there any precedents that can say something about the impact SHAPE could have in the global debate?

Who are the stakeholders involved in the process so far?

Why contribute to the creation of Sustainable Development Pathways (SDPs)?

What will the 1st stakeholder workshop in autumn entail?

 

What is the desired impact of this project?

SHAPE is investigating interactions between options to mitigate climate change and the broader agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project team intends to develop and disseminate in-depth analysis of Sustainable Development Pathways (SDPs) that achieve the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.

By showing concretely how climate action shapes and is shaped by progress on other SDGs, SHAPE wants to support more informed decision-making by the broad range of governmental and non-state actors involved in implementing the 2030 Agenda. “Breaking the silos” is not just a cliché – it is an ongoing challenge for applied integrative assessments involving efforts towards better models, better combinations of quantitative / modelling approaches, and better connections to qualitative social science research. At these academic frontiers, SHAPE is integrating industrial ecology and nexus research, and is deepening links with governance and social-ecological resilience scholarship to deal better with the assumptions and simplifications of integrated assessment modelling (IAM).

The SHAPE team also sees opportunities for linking scholarly work and societal impact through ongoing stakeholder engagement: the team’s policy and business-engaged research centres are tackling the persistent challenge of linking global-level integrated analysis with context-situated knowledge co-development approaches.

Who are the targeted users of SHAPE’s work?

We expect the scenarios of the Sustainable Development Pathways (SDPs) to be used by actors from governmental and non-governmental sectors alike, using the insights of the SDPs for their action on climate and sustainability. This can for instance be in climate negotiations or at forums such as the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda’s SDGs, and also as inputs to IPCC and IPBES analyses. For instance, future Global Sustainable Development Reports could apply a coherent set of scenarios covering the 2030 Agenda, rather than the selection of scenarios with partial coverage that they have had to rely on so far.

We also target research users of SHAPE’s outputs beyond the SDPs themselves, including our new methodologies for integrative research – for instance, in our focal areas on sustainable consumption and production, and cross-scale / Earth system governance.

What are the reasons to use the SHAPE scenarios – the SDPs?

Existing scenarios tend to be designed around sectors or specific policy issues (e.g., climate, energy, biodiversity). SHAPE has been funded with the explicit objective of dealing with the multidimensional challenges of action for the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

SHAPE’s scenarios will offer a broader view than previous scenario approaches on how multiple SDGs of the 2030 Agenda can be achieved simultaneously.

How is SHAPE handling issues that IAMs don’t capture well?

The SHAPE team brings several research teams together in a new consortium precisely to handle some key areas that are missing or weakly captured in current integrated assessment models (IAMs). Notably: insights from governance research about how society steers itself and what constitutes sustainability transformations; analysis of material flows in the economy (complementing macroeconomic flows); and nexus approaches dealing with land and water as well as climate and energy systems.  

Dialogue approaches, embodying SHAPE’s co-development ethos, are an important way to handle the non-quantifiable aspects of integrative assessment for the SDGs.

Are there any precedents that can say something about the impact SHAPE could have in the global debate?

SHAPE partners have been involved in many scenario development processes, including the SSP/RCP framework for studies of both mitigation pathways and climate impacts, as well as the “Bending the Curve” approach for biodiversity. Their applications of model-based scenario studies have already had impact via intergovernmental processes on climate, biodiversity, energy, etc., which is how we know the need to take more integrative steps in SHAPE’s priority areas of the climate-land-water-energy nexus, sustainable consumption and production, inequality and governance.

SHAPE team members have also been actively involved in the strategic scientific development of The World In 2050, which has the potential to amplify the experience of this one project across the growing TWI2050 network of actors at a key sustainability science-policy-society interface.

Who are the stakeholders involved in the process so far?

Our stakeholder panel includes:

  • Actors from government, business and civil society involved in international debates and developments for SDG strategy and implementation
  • Experts broadly covering the “5Ps” of the 2030 Agenda (people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership) especially from intergovernmental organizations with a global perspective
  • Participants in science-policy-society interfaces in other regions of the world, extending from SHAPE’s mainly European network - especially where there may be opportunities for international synergies with SHAPE’s national / EU research funding
  • Other academics and practitioners involved in scenario creation and use, especially from contexts where method innovations are happening to increase diversity and participation (e.g., the IPBES processes)

Why contribute to the creation of Sustainable Development Pathways (SDPs)?

Participating in our scenario process gives stakeholders the opportunity to shape a new generation of global sustainable development pathways with an unprecedented coverage of SDG targets and interactions. As we want to represent different possible pathways towards the SDGs, we explicitly seek feedback from a diverse stakeholder community. Embedding diversity of perspectives gives a better representation of complex reality, helping ensure that the project’s eventual outputs and pathways can be more useful and more grounded in real-world application contexts. The process of participation in SHAPE’s research itself helps strengthen international science-policy-society interfaces, by developing more supportive processes and structures for handling plurality of objectives and viewpoints in the “toolkit” of key global assessments.

What will the first stakeholder workshop in autumn 2020 entail?

The SHAPE team is currently planning the workshop as a mixed-mode event, to make the most of the opportunities that the world’s new habits of online working provide. The aim will be to (deep) dive into themes and topics to be addressed in the narratives underlying the new scenarios. An important basis for the content of the workshop will be the preceding questionnaire.

Regarding the logistics: the main workshop discussions and activities will run on three afternoons (2:00-5:30pm) 20-22 October 2020, in the Zoom environment. We envisage a mix of different kinds of sessions, including optional activities, so everyone can contribute actively all the time that we are virtually together. More details will be provided closer to the event.