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15 January 2021

Call for papers: International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference 2021

Photo: Ryan Brown (UN Women) / flickr.

The International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) Conference 2021, hosted by the Mid Sweden University, will be held digitally on July 13 – 15, 2021, with a PhD Workshop on July 12, 2021. This years’s special topic is “Accelerating the progress towards the 2030 SDGs in times of crisis”.

This online conference covers sustainability in relation to all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the virtue of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. It aims to investigate the most current trends and implications for the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development in the Global North and Global South.

A special track will be dedicated to “Food Security and Agriculture”:

Goals and Objectives of the Track

Track 5f addresses the topics of food security and agriculture from an interdisciplinary and systemic perspective at all spatial levels from local to global. It aims to bring light on environmental as well as nutritional, agricultural, demographic, socio-economic, political, technological and institutional aspects of food security. The goal of this track is to highlight practices and actions that increase Earth’s ability to sustainably feed the global population by 2050. The current global food production is the largest pressure caused by humans on Earth, threatening not only local ecosystems but also the stability of the Earth system itself. It is also failing to provide sufficient food to more than 820 million people. An even greater fraction of the population is consuming an unhealthy diet that contributes to premature death. Agricultural production has thus reached a point where a radical transformation is necessary if food quality, food security and food sovereignty are to serve the needs of humanity. At the same time, food systems may be a strong lever to optimize human and environmental health and promote sustainable development on a local or global level.

Agricultural production is the cornerstone of rural economies and in most developing economies; agriculture accounts for a substantial proportion of foreign exchange earnings and employs much of the active labour force. Even though there are no silver bullets or systems that by default supply a win-win situation, well-designed and well-managed agro-ecosystems may not only promote rural incomes and enhance rural welfare but also provide some of the ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, erosion control, water regulation and preservation of biodiversity. In order to feed an increasing population on existing agricultural land within a safe and just operating space (defined by the planetary boundaries), agricultural production needs a transition based on sustainable intensification and driven by sustainability and system innovation.

The overarching objective of track 5f is to assess opportunities and challenges for restructuring agricultural production towards sustainability. Sustainable agriculture should put an end to poverty and hunger, safeguard food security (SDG 1 and 2) without crossing the biophysical thresholds of the planetary boundaries or obstructing an equitable social foundation.

Accordingly, submissions are invited from various disciplines, in the context of (but not limited to) agro-ecological concerns such as:

  • Studies on the links, hurdles and opportunities between the ecological common goods’ goals of climate, water and land (SDG 13, 14, 15) and the goals for improving human well-being (poverty hunger, health education, gender, sanitation – SDG 1-6)
  • Trade-off assessments of or methods around the phenomenon of increased productivity vs. secured or enhanced ecosystem functions
  • Paths from here towards the production and distribution systems that generate enhanced food security. What are the main levers and challenges? What about practical experiences? What are the trade-offs? What are some challenges when scaling up sustainable small-scale practices?
  • Examples of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and innovative designs of multifunctional land uses that support, provide and restore ecosystem functions – and how these system’s products become marketable? Studies on landscape and catchment scale actions are encouraged.
  • Examination of actions and ambitions of stakeholders in disrupting existing unsustainable systems of food growing and provisioning, and endeavouring to secure more just and sustainable practices of production, access and supply

Length and content of the proposed abstract to the track

Each proposed abstract (in connection to an area pointed out above) of between 300 and 500 words (including all aspects),

  1. shall be best organized (without headlines) along usual structures (e.g. intro/method/findings or results/ discussion/conclusions)
  2. does not need to, but can include references
  3. shall provide in a final section
    a. to which SDG(s) and SDG-target(s) their proposed abstract especially relate to (e.g. “SDG+Target: 14.1.”).
    b. a brief indication how the proposed contribution relates to the topic of the Conference (“ACCELERATING PROGRESS TOWARDS SDG’s IN TIMES OF CRISIS”).

Abstracts which do not outline points 3.a.) AND 3.b.) might not be given special consideration in the selection for potential publications and might be considered less relevant in the Review.

Potential publication channels

With regard to potential publications, depending on the number and quality of contributions the following publication opportunities have already been inquired:

  1. Special Issue in Ambio – A Journal of the Human Environment Springer, Impact factor: 4.778 (2019)
  2. Special Issue in Land, Livelihoods and Food Security in Frontiers in Sustainable food systems
  3. Edited Book with the ISDRS partner Taylor & Francis/Routledge (

Track Chairs

  • Henrik Haller, Department of Ecotechnology and Sustainable Building Engineering, Mid Sweden University, Sweden
  • Elisabeth Simelton, CIFOR-ICRAF, Vietnam
  • Madelene Ostwald, Department of Technology Management and Economics/Environmental Systems Analysis, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development, Sweden
  • Stephen M. Mureithi, Department of Land Resource Management and Agricultural Technology, University of Nairobi, Kenya.

For more information about the conference and how to submit your abstract for this track (before the 31st of January 2021), visit the ISDRS conference website.