Learning from COVID-19 and other global threats, the TwR project aims to propose levers of change to trigger systemic transformations in societal decision-making systems which should radically improve both the resilience of our society to sustainability threats and its agility to adapt to new opportunities and needs.    

Building on the success and positive response to the IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID-19 world and the synthesis and thematic reports, IIASA launched the TwR project which continues to work with the community of scientists and practitioners to develop feasible, science-based recommendation to catalyze sustainability transformation. The TwR project operates under the guidance from the Advisory Board continuing from the IIASA-ISC Science Platform. 

The TwR project asserts the key to sustainability transformation is better societal decision-making and governance systems. Existing governance systems were not sufficiently effective in dealing with COVID-19. Some societies and some individual actors did mobilize rapidly, but many of their responses occurred in a fragmented, ad-hoc, and suboptimal manner. With little or no coordination across national borders and based on rather skewed input from science, countries proceeded to introduce restrictive measures, travel bans, and other measures. These responses could have been more effective if they were based on international cooperation and comprehensive scientific advice. The same problems are likely to affect our response to other global crises with major implications for future sustainability.

The TwR project brings together experts from academia, public and private sectors, and civil society with vast and diverse backgrounds to form a Community of Scientists and Practitioners with relevant knowledge and experience (CoSP). Engagement with CoSP in the co-production of recommendations will ensure that they are feasible and informed by the best available science. Recommendations will

  1. address the tradeoff between resilience needed to sustain natural and socioeconomic systems and avoid collapses, and agility required to effectively implement changes to adapt to rapidly evolving conditions; and
  2. identify critical levers of change in societal decision-making and inform the development of tools for assessing the capacity of governance and other societal decision-making systems.

In the next phase, case studies will be initiated to apply the new insights.

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

Advisory Board Members

The Transformations within Reach Project 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)




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