1. Governance for Sustainable Development
Advancing sustainable development depends on translating the global vision of the SDGs and related agendas into practice, and ensuring their effective implementation. UNU-IAS mobilises knowledge, expertise, and partnerships to strengthen governance and policymaking processes for sustainable development and localise these urgent global agendas. Our research explores interactions between SDGs and with related efforts on decarbonisation, the circular economy, and digital transformation, among others. UNU-IAS contributes to global policy dialogue on sustainable development and builds capacity at the local, national, and regional levels through technical advice and training activities, in close collaboration with partners in the UN system and beyond.
2. Biodiversity & Society
Action on biodiversity is urgently needed to sustain a healthy planet and the lives that it supports. UNU-IAS advances human–environment solutions to accelerate transformational change toward living in harmony with nature. Our research provides evidence-based inputs for implementing the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, with a focus on sustainable management of production landscapes and seascapes. As the secretariat of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI), UNU-IAS mobilises efforts by 279 member organisations across the globe to build mutually beneficial human–nature relationships. Through technical and institutional capacity development activities, the institute supports governments and other stakeholders in applying landscape approaches and promotes participatory, inclusive management.
3. Water & Resource Management
Water is at the core of sustainable development, linking livelihoods, health, ecosystems, and infrastructure. Ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for all requires a transformation in the way we manage water resources. UNU-IAS is developing sustainable, decentralised approaches to overcome the water crisis, enhance resilience, and help build decarbonised, circular economies. Our research contributes to policy dialogue at the global level, including the UN World Water Development Report, as well as regional and local action and development planning. We promote integrated management of water resources at the community level, fostering collaboration between local researchers and practitioners to explore alternative water resources.
4. Innovation & Education
Building more sustainable societies relies fundamentally on fostering creative, innovative solutions and empowering individuals through education. UNU-IAS accelerates knowledge generation and lifelong learning for a sustainability transformation, through policy-oriented research, capacity development, and partnerships. Focusing on education for sustainable development (ESD), we advance the global ESD for 2030 Agenda to engage learners of all ages in achieving the SDGs, harnessing innovative technology to reach the marginalised. In doing so UNU-IAS mobilises global and regional networks, including the Regional Centres of Expertise on ESD (RCEs) and the higher education alliance Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research Network (ProSPER.Net).