Sustainable development pathways achieving Human well-being while safeguarding the climate And Planet Earth (SHAPE)

While Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been introduced by The UN 2030 Agenda, unfortunately we as a planet are not currently on course. In addition, protection of the Earth's climate promoted by the Paris Agreement is also not on track. IIASA plans to join Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and several other partners to contribute to SHAPE, which will aim to study Sustainable Development Pathways (SDPs) that will achieve the SDGS in 2030 and also support sustainable development reach the goals of the Paris Agreement in 2100.

Photo by Torsten Muller on Unsplash

Photo by Torsten Muller on Unsplash

The UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) present a vision for the wellbeing of all people in prosperity, peace and partnership while preserving the integrity of our planet. The goal of protecting Earth’s climate, SDG 13, is underpinned by the Paris Agreement to hold global warming well below 2°C, through an international climate action architecture of coordinated nationally determined contributions. Numerous processes at local, national and international level are in motion to implement these global agreements, but the current initiatives are unlikely to fulfill the ambition of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs, raising the question of successful transformation processes.

SHAPE aims to contribute an in-depth analysis of sustainable development pathways (SDPs) that achieve the SDGs in 2030 and maintain sustainable development to reach the Paris climate goals until 2100. It will investigate measures to overcome trade-offs to enable simultaneous achievement of a broad range of sustainable development objectives. The SDPs will be developed using world-leading state-of-the-art integrated assessment models taking climate change as the entry point. They will be combined with regional and global scale analysis of governance challenges, where business and civil society actors now play as significant a role as national governments. Through engagement with diverse SDG action processes, stakeholders will steer the identification of regionally and sector-relevant sustainable development indicators for 2030 and beyond, and refine the usefulness of the SDPs for informing policy processes on multiple scales. 

In the SHAPE project, IIASA will lead the work on climate change and inequality. We work on improving the global representation of shelter and thermal comfort and perform a global analysis energy needs required for reaching Decent Living Standards.


  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany (Lead PI)
  • Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Energy Program, Austria
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway
  • German Development Institute (DIE), Bonn, Germany
  • Stockholm University (SU), Sweden
  • Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Germany

This project has received funding from the AXIS Joint Call for Transnational Collaborative Research Projects 2018 

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Last edited: 28 July 2020


Bas van Ruijven

Research Group Leader

Sustainable Service Systems Research Group|Energy


and Environment Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 288

Keywan Riahi

Program Director



and Environment Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 491


July 2019 - June 2022


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