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Yamini Narayanan

The fundamental sustainability tension may be said to lie in reconciling want and greed. This places the human self or the human soul as a moral battleground where desire and duty constantly attempt to triumph over each other. However, desire must be understood and integrated as part of a fully self-conscious human self in order to enable a consistent and unwavering performance of duty. In this article, I propose the Hindu notion of the purusharthas, or the fourfold path to self-actualization, as one illustrative example of a green telos. The purusharthas prescribe a path comprising of material and sensuous experience, in obedience to dharma or duty, such that moksha or a state of complete self-awareness may be achieved. I suggest that the stage of dharma is thus where the most profitable connections between Hinduism and sustainable development might be made.

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Sustainable Development as a Goal

Social, Environmental and Economic Dimensions

Vera Mignaqui

Scholars are researching how to assess a country's sustainable development performance. However, not many proposals differentiate the performance via the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. This article proposes to assess a country's sustainable development performance in general as well as in each of the dimensions. It pursues three objectives: (1) identifying sustainably developed countries; (2) assessing the best performers in terms of sustainable development; and (3) understanding the relations between the dimensions. Results show a globally bad sustainable development performance, with no sustainably developed countries. They also show that the economic dimension is not the best performing dimension at a global level and that very high levels of gross national income (GNI) per capita usually imply a bad environmental performance.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

June 5 is World Environment Day, also known as Eco-day. It is an environmental awareness day run by the United Nations (UN). Of course, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, also run by the UN, now dominates our discussions of sustainability in global affairs. However, localized visions of sustainable development continue to thrive. These development models are based on local movements that include a variety of actors with concrete grievances and focused visions for the futures of their communities. These movements and visions are relevant for World Environment Day because they reflect the spirit of this initiative through grassroots activities.

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The following question was asked during the 2017 International Conference of the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) on “Integrated and Coherent Sustainable Development”: “If forced to choose

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Regional integration has significantly impacted sustainable development processes at the sub-national, supranational and interregional levels. Regions & Cohesion here has highlighted the complexity of interactions between policy arenas and

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Yves Laberge

aims to question the specific, national approaches to environmental studies and sustainable development according to a given dominant paradigm, in a given country, in a certain era. Comparing theoretical approaches according to countries can be a

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Stefan Böschen

Envisioning strategies for sustainable development and its governance are knowledge-intensive processes. Against this background, conflicts about the correct form and actual validity of knowledge supporting sustainable development have arisen. What can be seen as evident-and what not? This article is based on the argument that there are differing modes creating evidence within “epistemic“ and “practice“ communities. Therefore, I propose to decipher knowledge production for sustainable development as processes of social experimentation in Dewey's sense. To do so, I introduce the concept of a “formative public“ for analyzing the cultural and institutional contexts of such processes. The argument is underlined by a focused description of the cases of chemical regulations and climate change politics. The findings support the argument that the politics of sustainable development has to elaborate guidelines and institutional structures for processing knowledge as a social experiment in order to resolve the conflicting ideas mirrored through differing accounts of the evidence.

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Sustainable development

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Much debate has swirled around the United Nations’ (UN) 2000–2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). On one hand, the MDGs established the fight against poverty in the global political consciousness. On the other hand, they maintained a traditional statistical approach to “development” that focused on indicators more than transformation. Critics (such as Blanco Sío-López, 2015; Martens, 2015) have contended that the MDGs reinforced power imbalances and the indicators included in the political program were unattainable by many developing states since the beginning.

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Magnus Boström, Åsa Casula Vifell, Mikael Klintman, Linda Soneryd, Kristina Tamm Hallström, and Renita Thedvall

The synergies and trade-offs between the various dimensions of sustainable development are attracting a rising scholarly attention. Departing from the scholarly debate, this article focuses on internal relationships within social sustainability. Our key claim is that it is difficult to strengthen substantive social sustainability goals unless there are key elements of social sustainability contained in the very procedures intended to work toward sustainability. Our analysis, informed by an organizing perspective, is based on a set of case studies on multi-stakeholder transnational sustainability projects (sustainability standards). This article explores six challenges related to the achievement of such procedures that can facilitate substantive social sustainability. Three of these concern the formulation of standards and policies, and three the implementation of standards and policies. To achieve substantive social sustainability procedures must be set in motion with abilities to take hold of people's concerns, frames, resources, as well as existing relevant institutions and infrastructures.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Volume five of Regions & Cohesion has focused significant attention on the subject of regional development. It has done so because 2015 is such an important year in relation to development debates given the definition of the post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda in the United Nations and the official declaration of 2015 as the European Union Year for Development. The introduction to the Leadership Forum of the Spring 2015 issue included important reflections on the theme of “transformative development.” The introduction openly asked whether 2015 could be a decisive year for the global development agenda or whether it will be remembered for global summitry, international declarations and little more.