Decades of insufficient action (despite multiple scientific warnings) have heightened risks of irreversible tipping points in the Earth systems. Urgent and critical actions are needed to avert societal collapse. Phase-2 of the Transformations within Reach (TwR) is intended to provide an action-oriented synthesis for catalyzing societal transformations toward sustainability.

The Transformations within Reach (TwR-I) initiative was first launched in early 2020 as a joint initiative between the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the International Science Council (ISC) under the heading Consultative Science Platform: Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID-19 world with the objective to glean lessons from the COVID-19 crisis for the future of society. The initiative brought together over 200 experts from various disciplines and every region of the world through a series of consultations in order to provide recommendations on what should be done to move towards a more sustainable world that would be more prepared for negative shocks. TwR-I produced a synthesis and four thematic reports which were widely disseminated.

Building on the success of and positive response to TwR-I, IIASA launched TwR-II which continues to work with the community of scientists and practitioners operating under the guidance by the Advisory Board chaired by the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chair of The Elders, H.E. Mary Robinson and the patronage of Ban Ki-Moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations (2007-2016).

TwR-II asserts that the key to sustainability transformation is a better societal decision-making and governance systems. Therefore, TwR-II aims to put forward recommendations on how decision-making systems and processes can be improved to catalyze sustainability transformations and identify effective levers of change for this.

Further information on TwR II can be found on the website of the initiative:

Ban Ki-Moon - Patron of the Transformations Within Reach Project


The Transformations within Reach initiative has been informed and supported by an advisory board under the patronage of the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki-moon and chaired by the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chair of The Elders, H.E. Mary Robinson.

  1. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Vice President of Operations, in Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), The World Bank Group
  2. Peter BakkerPresident and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
  3. Preety BhandariSenior Advisor in the Global Climate Program and the Finance Center at World Resources Institute (WRI)
  4. Sir Peter GluckmanPresident, International Science Council (ISC); Director, Koi Tū: the Centre for Informed Futures, University of Auckland; Chair, International Network for Government Science Advice; former Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand (2009-2018)
  5. Heide HackmannAdvisor to the Executive on Transdisciplinarity and Global Knowledge Networks, Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria; former CEO of the International Science Council (2018-2022)
  6. Andrea HinwoodChief Scientist, UNEP
  7. Naoko IshiiDirector, Center for Global Commons, Professor, Institute for Future Initiatives, University of Tokyo 
  8. Ban Ki-moonPatron of the initiative Transformations within Reach; Former United Nations Secretary-General (2007-2016); Deputy Chair of The Elders; Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens
  9. Carlos NobreSenior Researcher, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Sao Paolo; Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences; former member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the UN Secretary-General (2013-2016)
  10. Daya ReddyProfessor Emeritus in applied mathematics, University of Cape Town; former President of the International Science Council (2018-2021)
  11. Mary RobinsonChair of The Elders; Patron of the Institute of Human Rights and Business; former President of Ireland (1990-1997); former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002)
  12. Achim Steiner – Administrator and CEO, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  13. Albert van Jaarsveld –  Director General of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Advisory Board meeting for the Transformations Within Reach - Phase 2 took place online on 11 April 2022. 

First Workshop of the Community of Science and Practice was conducted on 27 October 2022.



20 January 2022: Leena Srivastava presented at NIES Japan Coference: Societal transformation towards global sustainability 



Sperling, F., Havlik, P. , Denis, M., Valin, H. , Palazzo, A. , Gaupp, F., & Visconti, P. (2022). Toward resilient food systems after COVID-19. Current Research in Environmental Sustainability 4 e100110. 10.1016/j.crsust.2021.100110.

Andersen, I., Ishii, N., Brooks, T., Cummis, C., Fonseca, G., Hillers, A., Macfarlane, N., Nakicenovic, N. , Moss, K., Rockström, J., Steer, A., Waughray, D., & Zimm, C. (2021). Defining “Science-based Targets”. National Science Review 8 (7) nwaa186. 10.1093/nsr/nwaa186.

Komendantova, N. , Neumueller, S., & Nkoana, E. (2022). Co-creating Policies on Societal Transformations as a Factor of Resilience of Modern Society. In: Energy Transition in the Baltic Sea Region: Understanding Stakeholder Engagement and Community Acceptance. Eds. Karimi, F. & Rodi, M., Routledge. ISBN 9781032003085

Gluckman, P., Quirion, R., Sachs, J., & van Jaarsveld, A.S. (2022). Scientific diplomacy keeps reason alight in dark times. Nature 604 (7906) p. 425. 10.1038/d41586-022-01060-z.

Zakeri, B. , Paulavets, K., Barreto-Gomez, L., Gomez Echeverri, L., Pachauri, S. , Boza-Kiss, B. , Zimm, C. , Rogelj, J. , Creutzig, F., Ürge-Vorsatz, D., Victor, D., Bazilian, M., Fritz, S. , Gielen, D., McCollum, D., Srivastava, L., Hunt, J. , & Pouya, S. (2022). Pandemic, War, and Global Energy Transitions. Energies 15 (17) e6114. 10.3390/en15176114.

Patil, P. (2022). Transformations Within Reach: Synchronizing Resilience and Agility for Sustainable Development (TwR). In: Systems Analysis for Reducing Footprints and Enhancing Resilience, 16-17 November, 2022, Vienna, Austria.


G20 India

06 November 2023

IIASA provides input to the G20 on multilateralism reforms

The G20 is a global platform for the discussion of cooperation, policy, and governance pathways aligned with the common interests of its member states, which include the world’s largest economies. This year, to support the G20 process, IIASA produced four policy papers providing insight into the complexities of potential multilateral institutional reforms.
SDG or sustainable development goals for better future tiny person concept

27 September 2023

Synergy solutions for a world in crisis

IIASA scientists contributed to a new UN report focusing on the importance and potential benefit from synergistic action with regard to climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report highlights potential knowledge barriers and major political and economic challenges and provides recommendations to address them. 
New Delhi City

14 August 2023

IIASA Director General's mission to India: paving the way for sustainable growth and collaborative partnerships

IIASA Director General, Albert van Jaarsveld, visited New Delhi from 27 to 29 July 2023. This trip marked a momentous opportunity for IIASA to strengthen its ties with India and global partners, as well as contribute to the advancement of the Green and Sustainable Growth Agenda for the Global Economy.


Online and Austrian Academy of Sciences (Doktor-Ignaz-Seipel-Platz 2, Vienna)

Human development, sustainability, and agency