Sustainable Statehood: Reflections on Critical (Pre-)Conditions, Requirements and Design Options

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Thirty years after the seminal UN conference on environment and development, where the global agenda for sustainable development was agreed upon by the international community, uncountable initiatives in public policy, business and civil society have been activated. Despite all efforts, pressure on life-supporting Earth systems remain on an ecologically, socially and economically unsustainable pathway. Global collective action for sustainable development has so far been insufficient regarding the scientifically well-diagnosed need for substantial transformation. Given that the world remains a world of nation states, notwithstanding processes of globalization and transnationalization, internationalization and subnationalization, the quest for sustainable statehood is of utmost importance. Based on the expectations of nation states expressed in the UN Transformation Agenda 2030, it is argued that underlying and cross-cutting structures, procedures and instruments of statehood, which precede decision-making processes and policy-making in specific fields of sustainable development, such as climate change or biodiversity, are of key relevance. In this regard critical requirements and (pre-)conditions for sustainable statehood are discussed and design options for sustainable statehood in the Anthropocene are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9461
Issue number15
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 02.08.2022

Bibliographical note

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    Research areas

  • Sustainability Science - sustainable development, nation state, sustainable statehood, sustainability transformation, Anthropocene, science-policy interface, participation, public administration