14 January 2019 - 16 January 2019
Potsdam, Germany

Science-based Targets Network Workshop

The Science-based Targets (SBT) Network convenes at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to finalize its execution plan.

© LoboStudio Hamburg on Unsplash

© LoboStudio Hamburg on Unsplash

In 2016, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) started a new initiative on “Our Global Commons” with many events since. As part of this initiative, GEF and IUCN asked IIASA and the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) to accompany this initiative scientifically. The result was a scientific paper on "Global Commons in the Anthropocene" authored by Nebojsa Nakicenovic (IIASA), Johan Rockström, Owen Gaffney (both SRC) and Caroline Zimm (IIASA) that explores the changing nature of the global commons in the 21st century. The paper and initiative were launched in October 2016 at US National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C. and presented at the World Economic Forum in New York during the UN General Assembly and at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2018.

In addition to a handful of companies that have been contributing over the past year, there are currently 25 organizations engaged and supporting the Earth Commission and the Science-based Targets network: The Biodiversity Consultancy, BSR, CDP, Ceres, Conservation International, EAT Foundation, Future Earth, Global Environment Facility, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), International Resource Panel, IUCN, The Natural Capital Coalition, The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), SYSTEMIQ, UN Global Compact, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), UNEP-WCMC, We Mean Business Coalition (WMB), World Benchmarking Alliance, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, (WBCSD) World Economic Forum (WEF), World Resources Institute (WRI), and WWF.

The initiative involves a new approach to global commons as essential support systems for sustainable development that extend beyond national borders and sovereignty. The aim is to establish an Earth Target Platform which would consist of: 

1. Earth Commission to develop basic science-based targets of the global commons including some 20 eminent Earth Commissioners who will be supported by Working Groups; and

2. the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) to translate the overall science-based target to specific targets for sectors, cities, businesses. The science-based targets are an analogy to what was achieve in case of climate – a simple proxy for stabilizing climate system to below 20C above the pre-industrial level. The basic idea is to develop the same for biodiversity and other Earth support systems. 

This working meeting will bring together a broad coalition of actors to finalize the execution plan for the Earth Commission and the Network/Issue Hubs of the Science-based Targets Initiative. The execution plan will be delivered to the leaders of all partner organizations and potential donors at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos (22-25 Jan 2019).

IIASA Acting Deputy Director General/CEO Nebojsa Nakicenovic and TNT Researcher Caroline Zimm will participate in this workshop.

Print this page

Last edited: 10 January 2019


Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Emeritus Research Scholar

Integrated Assessment and Climate Change Research Group|Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group|Energy


and Environment Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 411

Caroline Zimm

Research Scholar

Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group|Equity and Justice Research Group|Energy


and Environment Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 274


Willaarts, B. , Palazzo, A. , Kahil, T. , Tang, T. , & Heyl, A. (2021). Sustainable development pathways to water, food, and energy security in the Zambezi basin. IIASA Policy Brief. Laxenburg, Austria: PB-27

Zakeri, B. , Paulavets, K., Barreto-Gomez, L., Gomez Echeverri, L., Pachauri, S. , Rogelj, J. , Creutzig, F., Urge-Vorsatz, D., et al. (2021). Transformations within reach: Pathways to a sustainable and resilient world - Rethinking energy solutions. IIASA Report. IIASA-ISC

Kuzemko, C., Bradshaw, M., Bridge, G., Goldthau, A., Jewell, J. , Overland, I., Scholten, D., Van de Graaf, T., et al. (2020). Covid-19 and the politics of sustainable energy transitions. Energy Research & Social Science 68, e101685. 10.1016/j.erss.2020.101685.

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