Declaration We declare that

We declare that


Accel­er­at­ing the progress towards achiev­ing the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals and imple­ment­ing the UN Decade of Action” suc­cess­ful­ly, requires a move from talk­ing about sus­tain­abil­i­ty to liv­ing sus­tain­ably. Such a shift implies the need to focus espe­cial­ly on peo­ples’ every­day prac­tices. This includes devel­op­ing poli­cies that enable, pro­mote and sup­port rad­i­cal change in peo­ples’ every­day actions.


Many sus­tain­abil­i­ty poli­cies stem from a human-nature dichoto­my, under­stand­ing nature as humanity’s sur­round­ing envi­ron­ment. Yet with our body we are our­selves an inte­gral part of nature, and we also incor­po­rate it into our prac­tices in spe­cif­ic ways, depend­ing on what we are doing. This premise inverts the per­spec­tive on sus­tain­abil­i­ty from a nature-soci­ety oppo­si­tion to a soci­ety-nature inter­de­pen­dent relation.


Most of the present crises find their roots in unin­tend­ed, often fore­see­able, prob­lem­at­ic con­se­quences of human actions that are, ulti­mate­ly, of glob­al sig­nif­i­cance. This implies the need to frame the cri­sis as pri­mar­i­ly a soci­etal rather than pure­ly an envi­ron­men­tal issue, and to expand what is under­stood to be its knowl­edge base. 


Estab­lish­ing long-term sus­tain­able ways of liv­ing requires rec­og­niz­ing every­day prac­tices as key dri­vers of the trans­for­ma­tion. This calls for respect­ing those prac­tices’ cul­tur­al, social, and region­al diver­si­ty, as well as past expe­ri­ences of adap­ta­tion. In this con­text, the social sci­ences and the human­i­ties must play a cen­tral role in shap­ing sus­tain­abil­i­ty policies.


Trans­for­ma­tions towards liv­ing sus­tain­ably will be broad­ly accept­ed if they are co-devel­oped by every­day peo­ple, spe­cif­ic stake­hold­ers, and pol­i­cy-mak­ers at all lev­els work­ing togeth­er with aca­d­e­m­ic experts and sci­en­tists. This implies a rad­i­cal par­a­digm-shift away from impos­ing one size fits all” top-down strate­gies and towards specif­i­cal­ly tai­lored approaches.


Cul­tur­al, social and nat­ur­al dimen­sions of every­day prac­tices are all inher­ent­ly con­nect­ed, local­ly embed­ded, and glob­al­ly inter­re­lat­ed in spe­cif­ic ways. This insight requires schol­ar­ship that tran­scends dis­ci­pli­nary silos while ben­e­fit­ing from each discipline’s find­ings, and is sup­port­ed by new forms of research organization.


Gen­uine trans­dis­ci­pli­nary research should pro­vide infor­ma­tion and insights in an acces­si­ble form, and facil­i­tate par­tic­i­pa­to­ry knowl­edge pro­duc­tion. This requires sup­port­ing bot­tom-up move­ments among rel­e­vant com­mu­ni­ties, allow­ing them to offer effec­tive con­tri­bu­tions and to take action. 


A deep soci­etal trans­for­ma­tion across gen­er­a­tions requires that young peo­ple are espe­cial­ly strong­ly involved in this shift from the start. This demands that they have access to robust infor­ma­tion and edu­ca­tion, civic involve­ment, as well as polit­i­cal participation. 


To estab­lish cul­tur­al­ly and region­al­ly diverse ways of liv­ing sus­tain­ably, cre­ativ­i­ty and a new aes­thet­ic are nec­es­sary. How we do things depends very much on what they sig­ni­fy to us, how we see the world and our place in it. The arts in all their forms, togeth­er with the human­i­ties and social sci­ences are cru­cial for expand­ing mind­sets, pro­vid­ing new per­spec­tives on ways of liv­ing. This shall allow humankind to move from the age of extrac­tion towards cul­tures of regen­er­a­tion, to reach the SDGs with increased speed and depth, and to ensure mea­sur­able success.


To that end, we call upon all rel­e­vant polit­i­cal and sci­en­tif­ic insti­tu­tions, includ­ing fund­ing agen­cies, to use the UN Decade of Action” as a time to ensure that the cul­tur­al dimen­sion is at the core of sus­tain­abil­i­ty pro­grams. This includes the need to:

  • Reframe the basic per­spec­tive from an envi­ron­men­tal issue to a soci­etal challenge
  • Com­ple­ment solu­tion ori­en­tat­ed top-down strate­gies with more inclu­sive, region­al­ly dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed prob­lem-avoid­ing bot­tom-up approaches 
  • Pro­mote par­tic­i­pa­tion of younger gen­er­a­tions in deci­sion-mak­ing processes
  • Reform sus­tain­abil­i­ty research, its fund­ing and organization
  • Strength­en trans­dis­ci­pli­nary coop­er­a­tion in all domains of research
  • Revamp the cur­ric­u­la of all edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions, focus­ing on glob­al social emer­gen­cies and their mastering
  • Estab­lish uni­ver­si­ties, research and edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions as authen­tic exam­ples for soci­etal transformation
  • Inte­grate the arts, as well as find­ings from the human­i­ties and social sci­ences into the co-design of future, cul­tur­al­ly and region­al­ly diverse ways of liv­ing sustainably”.