News from the ESRC STEPS Centre - linking environmental sustainability and technology with poverty reduction and social justice

Media coverage

The Guardian

Our series of articles about Rio+20 issues for Guardian Global Development:
Rio+20 must make inclusive innovation stepping stone to a sustainable future Adrian Smith and Adrian Ely
Edge of sustainability: why Rio+20 mustn’t ignore people on city fringe Fiona Marshall and Lyla Mehta
Why Rio+20 must not leave the politics out of sustainable development Melissa Leach
Achieving universal energy access Rob Byrne and Jim Watson
It’s time for sustainable development Julia Day


The Rio+20 Stakeholder Forum magazine
Science and politics at Rio and beyond by Melissa Leach and Adrian Ely

Huffington Post

Science, politics and the post-Rio+20 agenda by Melissa Leach and Adrian Ely

Homegrown solutions 'crucial to sustainable development'

Find out more
>More media coverage
>Information for journalists

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About us

The STEPS Centre is a global research and policy engagement centre, funded by the ESRC, bringing together development studies and science and technology studies. Our work with partners around the world spans agriculture, water, health, energy and climate change. We would love to hear from you:

Rio+20 and beyond

Rio+20 banner
We have an exciting programme of activities around Rio+20, from new research and special issues to media coverage and debates with politicians, the public and business leaders. We have been running a full itinerary of events in Rio, but our efforts to make science, technology and innovation work for people and planet will continue after the Earth Summit ends.

Transforming innovation for sustainability

A new paper authored by members of the STEPS CentreStockholm Resilience Centre and the Tellus Institute calls for a radical new approach to innovation, connecting global and grassroots. The paper was published in Ecology and Society and discussed at a major panel debate in Rio on 16 June.
  • Paper: Transforming Innovation for Sustainability Authors: Melissa Leach, Johan Rockström, Paul Raskin, Ian Scoones, Andy Stirling, Adrian Smith, John Thompson, Erik Millstone, Adrian Ely, Elisa Arond, Carl Folke, Per Olsson 

Contributions to the Rio+20 process

  • Rio+20 High Level Dialogue on Global Sustainability STEPS director Melissa Leach was a High-level Participant in two days of discussions in Rio bringing together Nobel Laureates, members of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, members of The Elders and youth. The resultant Declaration - The Future We Choose highlights the importance of a science-based approach to sustainable development and the need for policy and decision-makers to acknowledge science if the world chooses a more sustainable path.
  • Zero draft STEPS Centre contribution to the zero draft of the Rio outcome document
  • GEC As a partner of the Green Economy Coalition we helped establish 9 principles for a fair and green economy
  • Rio Dialogues: STEPS/IDS co-convened the Rio Dialogues space on ‘sustainable development for fighting poverty’, set up by the Brazilian government and the UN. With colleagues from South Korea and Brazil, Adrian Ely presented the final report in Rio on 16 June (pdf 479kb) 

Green grabs, water grabs:
appropriating nature

Green Grabs special issue“Green grabbing” – the rapidly-growing appropriation of land and resources in the name of “green” initiatives – is forcing people from their land and increasing poverty, according to new research published in a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies ahead of Rio+20. Plus a special issue of Water Alternatives looks at the appropriation of water resources.


Video: hopes for Rio+20

What one sustainable development issue do you want to see addressed at Rio+20? We asked people including Professor Bina Agarwal, journalist Fred Pearce, Oxfam’s Phil Bloomer and some young environmentalists what their one big hope is.


Sustainable business and Rio+20

We hosted a 'Risk, Competitveness and Sustainability' conference in India with the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) at the Infosys HQ, to discuss sustainable business options for fast-growing emerging economies.

Roads to and from Rio, on the blog

Some of the expectations, challenges, results and ramifications of the Rio+20 summit are explored on the STEPS Centre blog.


Beyond Rio Resource Centre

Beyond Rio resource centre
Our new online resource centre gives access to key publications, experts and other resources from the STEPS Centre, Insitute of Development Studies, SPRU and the University of Sussex, aligned to the themes and issues of Rio+20.

Public events:
Tim Jackson, Caroline LucasCaroline Lucas and Tim Jackson

As part of our Rio+20 programme we held two public events: Professor Tim Jackson gave a STEPS lecture, Where is the green economy? Prosperity, work and sustainability 'after the crisis'. Meanwhile the roles citizens, civil society, government and business can play in sustainable futures were discussed at our Brighton Fringe Festival debate by a panel including Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

Innovation, Sustainability, Development: A New Manifesto

The STEPS Centre's 2010 New Manifesfo, its five areas for action and Andy Stirling's work on the '3D' agenda provided the basis for our Rio+20 thinking. Find out more:

Pathways to Sustainability book series

Dynamic SustainabilitiesOur work for Rio+20 has drawn on the STEPS Centre pathways approach, set out in our book series, particularly the flagship title Dynamic Sustainabilities: Technology, Environment, Social Justice and Regulating Technology. Published by Routledge, seven titles are available now, with the eighth - Pastoralism and Development in Africa - available for pre-order.
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