ISDRS NEWSLETTER, Volume 2016, Issue 4

Editors: Olawale Olayide, Volker Mauerhofer and Pontus Cerin.

Dear reader,

We hereby like to bring you the latest information about recent activities and news about our Society and direct your attention to interesting developments and up-coming events.



Message from the President
Bogotá Conference Track Updates
New Board Members
ISDRS Early Career Group
Institutional Members News
Updates from the Africa Thematic Working Group


Message from the President

2016 is nearly at its end. For our Society is has been a very fruitful year.  In July in Lisbon we experienced the largest gathering of sustainability researchers in our history. The team lead by Tomas Ramos was extremely successful in creating a very positive atmosphere for academic debates with our fellow researchers from all continents, and especially for the first time with a large delegation from Latin American countries. At this moment various Special Issues in academic journals are in production based on the papers submitted in Lisbon.

Also as a Society we have been growing. Our membership base has gone up to 1700 followers and Green(+) members and the number of scholars active on our LinkedIn discussion platform grew to 2100, with new discussions added every week.  

But the most important development in this year comes from our partnering with 3 ‘sister’-organisations and the signing up of 10 research-groups around the world as Institutional Member.

These ‘sisters’ are the World Student Community for Sustainable Development; the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and we are discussing closer collaboration with a few more.

We are very happy to have welcomed as institutional members this year: Kazi Shahid Foundation
fromDhaka, Bangladesh; Puskapena
inJakarta/Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Stellenbosch University 
from South Africa; the Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI Germany) inKöln, Germany; the Centre for Sustainable Development of theUniversity of Ibadan in Nigeria; Coventry University 
in the United Kingdom; Universidade NOVA de Lisbon inPortugal; the Universidad de los Andes from Bogotá, Colombia; the Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research, University of Graz in, Austria and finally the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University, in the Netherlands. These institutional members are now able to actively use the ISDRS as a platform to disseminate their research initiatives and results and initiate activities with and under the umbrella of the ISDRS. In this Newsletter we will see various contributions of our institutional members. We invite other to also use these opportunities!

In this note I would also like to draw your attention to the new activity for ‘early career professionals’, who are creating a platform for exchange of ideas, experiences and opportunities for master, PhD students and young graduates (see elsewhere in this newsletter).

During these last days of the year 2016 we are looking forward as well. With our 2017 conference we are stepping on the pathway of hope. Colombia has experienced a great transition towards peace and development in the last decade, which was concluded with a peace treaty and a Nobel prize for Peace for the President Santos. With SDG #16 being about peace, justice and strong institutions, where else can we better learn about transformation towards a sustainable society than in Colombia? If you have not yet submitted your abstract for the 23rd annual ISDRS Conference on 14-16th June, 2017, please do so as soon as possible (see ).

But for now, enjoy your holiday break and let me wish you all a very happy, healthy and inspired 2017. We are looking forward to meeting you all again in June in Bogota!

Walter J.V. Vermeulen, ISDRS President 




Official Website and Facebook
23rd ISDRS Conference Bogotá, Colombia - 14th-16th June 2017

If you have not already, please have a look at the Bogotá Conference website here!
This is where you can find any additional information you might need. If you want to keep up to date, please follow the Conference Facebook here.

Call for Abstract Submission - 31st December Deadline

Please bear in mind that the Abstract Submission Deadline is about to close. If you want to submit an abstract, go to this webpage for information about the tracks and how to submit.  


Bogotá Conference Tracks Updates and Promotion


Track 3c: Climate change adaptation strategies

Track 3c Climate change adaptation strategies (preparing for sea level rise, flooding and droughts) will deal with emerging issues related to climate variation, climate change and adaptation technologies, with a special focus on preparing for sea level rise, flooding and droughts. It aims to showcase a variety of adaptation strategies and projects currently being undertaken and implemented.

This track emerges in a context of engagement of the academy, government, communities and business in the problem and search for solutions.

Analyzing the main challenges and lessons learned, serving to disseminate knowledge beyond the region and enhance international research and policy cooperation is one of the main objectives of this track.

Also a major objective of this track is to create and share knowledge about the socio-economic, political and cultural dimensions of climate change. Analysing the effects of climate change on the social and environmental determinants of the health and well-being of communities (i.e. poverty, safe drinking water, food supplies) and on extreme events such as floods and hurricanes.

Besides giving continuity to the thematics from the last conference a major issue for this conference track ISDRS2017 is “Addressing Climate Change in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals: from principles to action".

The Track Chairs:

Ulisses Azeiteiro, CESAM - Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies & Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.

Walter Leal Filho, Head of the Research and Transfer Centre „Applications of Life Sciences" Hamburg University of Applied Sciences /Faculty of Life Sciences, Hamburg, Germany.

Amadeu Soares, CESAM - Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies & Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.


Track 5b: Corporate Social Responsibility and Investment (CSRI) 


Track Chair: Dr. Pramod B. Shrestha, Professor (Engineering Management), Department of Mechanical Engineering, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal.


Concept, Goals and Objectives

A major theme in this track is to identify new paradigm and approaches for sustainability and innovation related to corporate social responsibility: a partnership between private enterprise and public interest that produces profitable and sustainable change for both sides. The message is to move beyond corporate social responsibility to corporate social investment and innovation. Companies should be viewing community needs as opportunities to develop ideas and demonstrate business technologies; find and serve new markets; and solve long-standing business problems. This is not charity; it is R & D, a strategic business investment. In this new shifting competitive environment, societal challenges are also becoming huge business opportunities. Organizations that wish to survive should be able to demonstrate that, in the “new shifting” competitive environment, stakeholder value built on a company’s economic, ecological, and social impact will become an effective way to achieve ‘competitive advantage.’

In this track, the focus is also on societal innovations that will value the autonomy of organizations while insisting on accountability and ‘value and trust for money’, thus providing them the means to build broad ‘sustainable value’ and compete effectively and efficiently in the shifting competitive environment. This track also seeks contributions that address these important aspects of sustainable development and organizational sustainability that articulate what sustainability is in relation to corporate social responsibility and investment, develop processes to promote sustainability throughout the corporation, measure performance on sustainability, and ultimately link this measurement to corporate financial performance.


Track 7a: Local and regional governance (institutions)

Dr. Meg Holden from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, along with José Cuello Cuello of the City of Bogota, encourage your participation in track 7a, local and regional governance. Drawing from two ends of the Americas, we are both excited to offer a locally-embedded perspective on sustainability possibilities in Bogota and Latin America, based upon Dr. Cuello's decades of practice leadership, as well as an international diversity of research at the interface of local governance and sustainability.


Track 7e: Legal aspects of Sustainability

Track chair: Volker Mauerhofer
The goal of this track is to discuss principles, key concepts, methods and applications of legal aspects of Sustainability and lessons learned. We will further map opportunities of and challenges for legal aspects in a sustainable development in various thematic and strategic subjects, thereby contributing to the development of these domains scientifically and practically.


Four New Board Members

We warmly welcome Marlen Arnold, Rodrigo Lozano, Anne Wallis and Simon Bell as new ISDRS Board Members for a period of at least three years! All were elected by a large majority of votes. For more information about who the new board members are and what they do, please visit this webpage

Re-Election Results

We also are happy to announce that Tomás Ramos and Volker Mauerhofer were re-elected with a large majority. They will be able to serve as board members for another three years. 


ISDRS Early Career Group

Over the course of 2017, the ISDRS will work on setting up an 'ISDRS Early Career Group'. The aim of this community will be to connect young professionals and students in their final part of the studies from all over the world. The ISDRS aims to become a hub for early career sustainability researchers to share experience, share opportunities, and help each other out with issues typical for beginning of careers. 

A group of students from Nigeria, Senegal, Colombia and the Netherlands is currently shaping this initiative. Interested? Please follow the developments via the ISDRS Early Career Facebook group.


Institutional Members News


4th Annual System Dynamics Conference held at Stellenbosch

The South Africa System Dynamics (SASD) Chapter and Eskom SOC held its 4th Annual System Dynamics Conference from 17 to 18 November 2016, hosted by Stellenbosch University. There were 48 participants who attended the conference from across South Africa. Prof Alan Brent of Stellenbosch University, who is also the President of the SASD Chapter, offered a brief welcome and introduced the new SASD Chapter policy council for 2017.

Twenty-six papers were presented on the 17th November, with various topics relating to issues on energy, sustainable cities, health and nutrition, sustainable resource management and water. On 18th November, a world climate change simulation took place, where, the participants role-played global climate agreements using system dynamics. This demonstrated the complexities and dynamics involved in these negotiations, and that it requires concerted efforts of all the nations to work towards the 2 degrees Celsius target. The conference proceedings is available on

The 5th Annual System Dynamics Conference will be held on 23 – 24 November 2017, hosted by University of Pretoria.

To learn more about the South Africa System Dynamics Chapter and register for Membership, please go to: or Email:


Kazi Shahid Foundation (KSF)

Kazi Shahid Foundation (KSF) and Meena Bazar jointly hosted the students of the Sustainable Development Program of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) to introduce them to the KSF dairy model, organic farming and biogas programs. 80 students spent the Saturday, November 26, 2016 at KSF’s Savar Branch.

Jay Ohlmacher, Director of the Biogas Program, spoke to the students about clean energy and organic nutrients. Momtaz Faruki Chowdhury, CEO of KSF accompanied by the KSF team, explained the KSF dairy model, organic farming and high value crops yield.

“Global warming is a reality, modern convinces such as safe food and water, proper sanitary facilities, and good health care are still luxuries in many places. In order to address these issues we need to start at the most basic level, one household at a time. This is the fundamental base of our biogas program; delivering a clean, safe and renewable form of cooking fuel to the rural people of Bangladesh. To do so while having a zero net effect on the environment is our primary goal. Tens of thousands of rural households participating in sustainable energy production, has a greater effect than any one large program can deliver. For when the average citizen understands the importance of sustainable development, they will force the change on the world around them”, said Mr. Ohlmacher.

During the field trip, students toured several farms and learned first-hand about the organic mechanism of crop selection, soil fertility, bio pest controls, weed management, post-harvest issues, and more.

The students engaged with KSF officials, asked questions about the different programs focusing women empowerment and rural entrepreneurship development which enabled a rich debate and deeper understanding of it. It was a learning experience for all, and the visit was completed with a riverside picnic.                                                                                                                        

For more information please contact:

-       Jay Ohlmacher - Director, Biogas Program


-       Facebook:



Conference website  

This one day conference is hosted by CBiS (Centre for Business in Society), Coventry University, UK, in collaboration with CReiMS (Centre for Research in Marketing and Society), Sheffield University Management School and the Academy of Marketing Sustainability SIG. The conference is aimed at the emerging transition agenda for research within the broader social sciences around the interconnections between the circular economy and sustainability. We want to highlight the diverse and multifaceted range of issues stemming from the circular economy and sustainability, focusing on the ultimate goal of living well, within environmental limits.


Date: Tuesday 11 July 2017. Venue: Coventry University, TechnoCentre


Notification of abstract acceptance will be by 2nd May 2017

Online registration opens April 10th 2017

Latest online registration by 2nd June 2017

Abstracts will be posted online by 11th June 2017


Please follow the guidelines provided in the full conference details online. Or follow the conference via Twitter at #CE2S2017.


African Experts Hold Workshop on Indicators for Measuring Continental Progress on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)

Olawale Emmanuel Olayide, Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan, Nigeria,

The African Union Commission (AUC) organised a Training of Trainers Workshop for Experts on the Malabo Declaration Biennial Review Process on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The workshop was held during 28 November – 2 December 2016 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. About 35 experts selected from different institutions participated at the workshop.  The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is an African-led agenda designed to guide Africa’s agricultural transformation for sustained food security and socio-economic growth. 

The 2014 Malabo Declaration was adopted by African Heads of State and Government to provide effective leadership for the achievement of specific goals and targets towards Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation in the continent by 2025, including ending hunger, tripling intra-African trade in agricultural goods and services, enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems, and ensuring that agriculture contributes significantly to poverty reduction.

The biennial tracking of progress and reporting mechanism is part of the mutual accountability commitment. The biennial review report will cover seven areas of performance, which are: Commitment to CAADP Process, Investment Finance in Agriculture, Ending Hunger, Eradicating Poverty through Agriculture, Intra-African Trade in Agriculture Commodities and Services, Resilience to Climate Variability, and Mutual Accountability for Actions and Results. The first Biennial Review Process Report would be released in 2018. 


News and Updates from the Africa Thematic Working Group


Fostering Applicability of Digital University for Life-long Learning in Africa

By Dr. Solomon Mogus and Dr. Margareth Gfrerer, Education Strategy Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia & Dr Olawale Olayide, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

From Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, 2016, the Education Strategy Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia hosted the Ethiopian DAAD-Alumni to discuss the applicability of digital university for life-long learning. Speakers from Europe (Germany, Italy, Finland) and Africa (Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia) shared their experiences  in order to initiate  discussions.  H.E. Dr. Kaba Urgessa, the Ethiopian State Minister for Higher Education,  Dr. Gerald Heusing, the Director of the DAAD Ethiopia, and Dr. Christiane Gaehtgens the GIZ STEP Project Manager,  highlighted in their opening  speeches the importance of digital universities and the changes of the teaching and learning methodology towards students centered and independent approaches, which will respond to the needs of learners integrated in the working process in terms of flexible learning/studying times but also in terms of content.

Ms. Chipo Msengezi from Information Training & Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA) outlined to the workshop participants  the ‘big data’ researchers face, the expectations and job description of researchers towards ‘data workers’ as the binding element between data base managers and researchers. Dr. Olawale Olayide from Centre for Sustainable Development (CESDEV), University of Ibadan, Nigeria presented a digital solution introduced at his university and demonstrated that digitalization at university level does not always require big budgets but rather a visionary and charismatic person who could orchestrate the variety of talents at the university towards a symphony of success and sustainability. He highlighted that senior researchers have to take on mentorship of early career researchers to guide them into a research career path and to equip them with the digital tools needed for the present global cooperation.

The internationalization of lectures on digital universities had a prominent position on the agenda. Speakers and participants discussed potentials for cooperation and are looking forward to a first Ethiopian-German virtual study programme. 



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Olawale Olayide, Volker Mauerhofer and Pontus Cerin.

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