Challenges and opportunities for operationalizing the safe and just operating space concept at regional scale

Hossain, M. S. and Speranza, C. I. (2020) Challenges and opportunities for operationalizing the safe and just operating space concept at regional scale. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 27(1), pp. 40-54. (doi: 10.1080/13504509.2019.1683645)

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The concept of a safe and just operating space (SJOS) provided through combining the safe operating space (SOS) concept and the doughnut framework, delineates boundaries for ecological processes (e.g. climate change) and social wellbeing (e.g. food) at global scale. The integration of social wellbeing into the SOS concept through defining boundaries for humanity has become known as a SJOS concept. Although various studies have attempted to operationalize this SJOS concept, no synthesis has been conducted of the progress made and the obstacles faced. To address this need, we reviewed empirical studies and developed a conceptual framework of four operational steps for identifying the challenges and opportunities in operationalizing SJOS for regional social-ecological systems (SES). The steps include: 1) Understanding the SES to investigate the genesis in terms of selecting indicators and contextualization, which also include challenges such as selection of indicators, data availability and framework development to operationalize the SJOS concept; 2) Exploring the systems by understanding and unravelling the SES dynamics (e.g. feedbacks, nonlinearity) due to the limitation of existing modelling approaches; 3) Understanding the system governance by integrating stakeholders’ visions and equity dimension of sustainability and conceptualizing the SJOS; 4) The communication of SJOS entails additional layers of complexity as this concept integrates diverse challenges (e.g. equity) and disciplines into the sustainability assessment. In contrast, overcoming the challenges offers opportunities for transformation to sustainability within the limits of SES across different scales. The operational framework can thus be used in assessing the sustainability of SES.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work is supported by the Sustainable Land Management Unit project on“Social-ecological Systems Modelling and Sustainable Land Management”, University of Bern. MSH gratefully acknowledges Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 796994 under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme for the time investedfinalizing and revising the paper.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sohel, Dr MD Sarwar
Authors: Hossain, M. S., and Speranza, C. I.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
Publisher:Informa UK Limited
ISSN (Online):1745-2627
Published Online:06 November 2019

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