History of the Transformations Within Reach initiative


The Transformations within Reach (TwR-I) initiative was first launched in early 2020 as a joint undertaking between the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the International Science Council (ISC) 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. Main outcomes of the first project phase is the IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform: Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID-19 world and the synthesis and thematic reports.



Summary of the key messages from the IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform presented by H E Mary Robinson, as Chair of the TwR Advisory Board.


Second phase of the Transformations Within Reach initiative (TwR-II)


Following on from this successful first phase, IIASA launched the second phase of TwR (TwR-II), which operates under the guidance of the Advisory Board chaired by the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chair of The Elders, H.E. Mary Robinson and patronage of former Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki-moon.

At the first TwR-II Advisory Board Meeting in April 2022, the members concluded that the focus of the second phase shall be on societal decision-making as a key catalyst for transformations to sustainability. Therefore, TwR-II aims to put forward recommendations on how societal decision-making can be adjusted to catalyze sustainability transformations and identify effective levers of change in societal decision making (SDM). Society needs both resilience to multiple systemic risks, i.e., to sustainability-decreasing tipping points, and the agility to adapt to new opportunities, i.e., the ability to facilitate and harness sustainability-increasing tipping points.

Identifying effective levers of change to achieve these intertwined objectives requires understanding of societal transformations. It must be based on knowledge that integrates natural and social sciences, as well as hands-on policy experience.

For this, the TwR-II coordination team again 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 (CoSP) with relevant knowledge and experience in order to co-produce recommendations, which will ensure that they are feasible and informed by the best available science.


TwR-II Coordination Team at IIASA


Elena Rovenskaya is the Program Director and Principal Research Scholar at IIASA Advancing Systems Analysis Program (ASA) since January 2021, in which TwR-II is embedded. Within the ASA Program, researchers aim to identify, develop, and deploy new systems-analytical methods, tools, and data that address the most pressing global sustainability challenges.

Pratik Patil is a researcher in the Advancing System Analysis (ASA) Program, where he works on the Transformations within Reach initiative.

Luis Gomez-Echeverri is Emeritus Research Scholar at IIASA. He was a member of the Coordination Team of the first phase of TwR, the IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform: Bouncing forward sustainably: Pathways to a post COVID-19 world and is now part of the Coordination Team of TwR-II.

The IIASA Coordination Team operates under the patronage of H.E. Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations (2007-2016) and is supported by the Advisory Board (which was established within the first phase of TwR), chaired by H.E. Mary Robinson, the 7th President of Ireland (1990-1997) and the Community of Science and Practice (CoSP).


Patronage of the Transformation within Reach initiative


The IIASA TwR-II coordination team operates under the patronage of H.E. Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations (2007-2016). H.E. Ban Ki-moon provided his personal support as well as the continued support of the Ban Ki-moon Center in Vienna to the TwR approach to bringing together scientists, experts, policymakers, practitioners, and civil society to debate and propose game-changing solutions which he regards as an excellent way to achieve impact.


A short introduction to TwR-II by H.E. Ban Ki-Moon.




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