Kazuhiko Takeuchi is Senior Visiting Professor of UNU-IAS, Director and Professor of IR3S of University of Tokyo. He has served, among others, as a member of the Science Council of Japan and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Sustainability Science (Springer).

Educated and trained as a geographer and landscape ecologist at the University of Tokyo, he engages in research and education on creating eco-friendly environments for a harmonious coexistence of people and nature. He leads the Satoyama Initiative as well as climate and ecosystem change research in Asia and Africa.

Abstract

Sustainability Science: Linking Science, Policy and Society for a Sustainable Future

The academic landscape of sustainability science has changed drastically over the years. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it involved discussions in each specialized field, including engineering, agriculture, health sciences and economics. But now, over a decade into the new century, it has become more interdisciplinary — integrating more disciplines to pursue a comprehensive understanding of social and ecological systems.

Sustainability science also promotes the co-evolution of academia and society. Future Earth, a new international research platform focusing on the global environment, also emphasizes the importance of promoting transdisciplinary approaches that enable the co-design, co-production and co-delivery of knowledge. In order to involve society in conducting research even from the designing stage, measures should be taken to strengthen the interface between science, policy and society.

The international community is now faced with the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Sustainability science is essential for scientifically explaining of the importance of achieving SDGs. It is expected to play a significant role in systematically revealing relationships with the SDGs and structuring them to meet each objective. Sustainability Science needs to present a new vision for a sustainable future that reintegrates social and ecological systems.

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