13 June 2018
Berlin, Germany

Brain power for sustainable development

World Population Program Director Wolfgang Lutz is invited keynote speaker at this International Sociological Association conference.

student taking notes during lecture © Lucky Business | Shutterstock

student taking notes during lecture © Lucky Business | Shutterstock

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda was a landmark achievement for the United Nations, providing for a shared global vision on sustainable development. The scale and ambition of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals are unprecedented and require new and innovative approaches. A better understanding of the cognitive dimensions of human agents in their individual and collective behavior could be the key to implementing the different goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda in an coordinated manner.

At this symposium the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences, addresses the question of how to strengthen “brain power” for sustainable development and aims at identifying the cognitive preconditions for a successful sustainability transition. 

As leading expert in the study of population and human capital, IIASA World Population Program (POP) Director Wolfgang Lutz was invited to participate at this symposium. Since 1984 at IIASA, Lutz has worked on family demography, fertility analysis, population projection, and the interaction between population and environment. Together with his colleagues at POP, he has been expanding demographic methods to make them more relevant for the analysis of contemporary global policy challenges. He is an advocate in promoting the crucial role of education for dealing with future challenges.

In 2013, Lutz was elected to the Leopoldina and in 2015 appointed as deputy member to the Senate of the  Leopoldina. Since January 2017 Lutz is member of the independent group of scientists to draft the United Nations Global Sustainability Development Report. The aim of this report is to inform the high-level political forum on sustainable development when it meets under the auspices of the united Nations General Assembly to review the progress made on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

In addition to Lutz, other IIASA researchers will contribute to the symposium. Jesus Crespo Cuaresma will give a presentation on "Global Education Expansion and Poverty Reduction" during session II. During session III, Bilal Barakat will talk about how the Education Goal relates to the other Sustainable Development Goals, and Raya Muttarak will give a presentation entitled "Environmental Sociology and Vulnerability".

Among the high level participants will be Rainer Klingholz, who published a book entitled "Education First! From Martin Luther to Sustainable Development" together with Lutz, Peter Messerli, Co-chair of the Independent Group of Scientists, and Frank Rösler, Leopoldina Presidium.

With this symposium, the Leopoldina continues the dialogue between science and politics on sustainability and builds on the symposium “The Turn to Sustainability?”, which was held in Berlin in October 2016, where Lutz also participated.

The symposium addresses anyone interested. Admission is free of charge. Please register until 10 June 2018. For more information and registration please visit the event website.

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Last edited: 07 May 2018


Wolfgang Lutz

Principal Research Scholar and Senior Program Advisor

Population and Just Societies Program

Acting Research Group Leader and Principal Research Scholar

Social Cohesion, Health, and Wellbeing Research Group

T +43(0) 2236 807 294

Research at IIASA's World Population Program

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313