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Keynote Governance

When an international conference in Solo in 2011 first came up with the Sustainable Development Goals, it pointed the world towards an agreed destination. The goals were to end poverty and hunger, improve health and education, make cities more sustainable, combat climate change, and protect oceans and forests. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “We don’t have plan B because there is no planet B.” A flood of reports since then has combined solid data with sensible policy recommendations. All point the way to that better future. We should arrive by 2030. We certainly like the destination. But does the road we are on now lead from here to there? The roadmaps in the reports look like super highways, paved with “good governance.” What if the real road is rutted with governance that is bad, ugly, or otherwise troubling? What if, like Clint Eastwood in the Sergio Leone film, the roadsigns say: “You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.” In this presentation we look at governance for a sustainable future – the road itself – as a perplexing phenomenon, worthy of interdisciplinary study.


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