Online seminar June 2020

Almost 60 stakeholders from politics, economy and civil society participated in an online seminar on June 30, 2020, which marked the starting point for the SHAPE stakeholder dialogue. The main objectives were to enable a first get to know each other, to inform the stakeholders about the SHAPE project and to collect and answer their basic questions. For more information, take a look at the agenda and the report below. A selection of questions and answers derived from the  seminar can be found here.



Opening remarks (Sarah Cornell, SRC)

Part I: Levelling-up

1. SHAPE Project Overview (Elmar Kriegler, PIK)

2. Scenarios for the SDGs: the role of stakeholders (Falk Schmidt, IASS)

Part II: SHAPE’s scenario approach

1. Target-seeking scenarios examples (Detlef Van Vuuren, UU)

2. How we are building our new scenarios (Ana Paula Aguiar, SRC)

3. How far have we come - introduction to SHAPE’s narratives (Bjoern Soergel, PIK)

4. What do we expect from our stakeholders now? - introducing the questionnaire (Merle Remy, IASS)

Part III: Discussion with the participants

Questions and answers


30 June 2020 – our kick-off event to the SHAPE stakeholder dialogue was a successful first “get-together” between the SHAPE consortium and the SHAPE stakeholder panel.

After a warm welcome to our stakeholders by Sarah Cornell (SRC) who guided through our event, a series of six short presentations by SHAPE consortium members filled the first half of the online seminar, followed by a lively Q&A session.

Elmar Kriegler, SHAPE project leader at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, introduced SHAPE by giving an overview of the project’s aims and its approach. New goal oriented scenarios are needed in integrated assessment modelling for a better understanding of how to reach the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) comprehensively. SHAPE aims at developing such scenarios, called the Sustainable Development Pathways (SDPs). Integrating a broader coverage of the Agenda 2030 goals into modelling will help to organize and coordinate future action towards sustainability. Acknowledging the immense complexity of this undertaking, the approach of the project integrates multiple models covering the climate-land-energy-water nexus, industrial ecology, and inequality and poverty research next to integrating research on governance.

Complementing this multi-disciplinary research approach, the central role of our stakeholder dialogues was highlighted by Falk Schmidt (IASS). Involved in sustainability issues, our stakeholders from governmental, business, civil society sectors and academia add different perspectives and expertise to the development of the SDPs. By bringing the climate and broader Sustainable Development communities, academia, citizens and decision-makers together, our stakeholder dialogues aim at initiating a joint learning process. Synergies and trade-offs of individual pathways towards sustainability as well as multi-level and cross-sectoral interactions will be explored.

Roads from Rio +20 or Bending the Trend are examples of models that have addressed the quest of how different pathways might look to reach sustainable development. Detlef van Vuuren (Utrecht University) provided an overview on the current state-of-the art to our stakeholders. The Roads from Rio +20 model shows for example of how different pathways can achieve the policy goal of mitigating biodiversity loss despite a growing population and an increase in food demand. Unlike in SHAPE, so far most existing pathways were however deducted from single models without elaborated narratives and with only little stakeholder interaction.

To integrate different or even contrasting options for pathways towards sustainable development in scenarios is challenging. The SHAPE method for doing so was elaborated by Ana Paula Aguiar (SRC) using the concept of branching points. By defining themes (hereafter called dimensions) such as “energy”, “future of work” or “society & governance”, and alternative sustainable futures for each dimension (hereafter branches), different pathways can be combined that tell the underlying narratives of the scenarios.

The initial set of dimensions, branches and narratives – or pathways – as suggested by the SHAPE partners was presented and explained by Bjoern Soergel (PIK). Following the online seminar, the stakeholder group is invited to comment on the suggested dimensions, branches and combinations for the scenarios by means of a questionnaire, briefly presented by Merle Remy (IASS), and in further discussions as part of the online workshop planned for October 2020.

The Q&A session in the second part of the online seminar touched upon different themes, providing clarification on the SHAPE project in general, on the stakeholder engagement in particular as well as on the scenario building process. Further, literature recommendations were suggested from the part of the stakeholders. The Q&A provided a rich pool of questions and comments from the stakeholders for the SHAPE consortium to work on and consider for the next steps of the SHAPE stakeholder dialogues.

Closing the online seminar with a shared screenshot, the SHAPE consortium was very pleased about the outcome and the number of participants. We thank our stakeholders once more in particular for the valuable questions and comments that we received from their side.