Session Information

Day 3: Challenges to Progress • Theme: Tranforming our Way of Living

Convergent global megatrends: Interdependent processes and policy responses

Prof Jim Hall, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, UK; Prof Jon Fink, Portland State University, USA; Prof Pavel Kabat, Wageningen University, Netherlands; Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, Cisco, UK; Dr Jimin Zhao, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China

Session content: The planet faces a convergent and interacting combination of threats of energy, water and food insecurity, alongside ecosystem degradation and climate change. There is potential for a coming together of multiple crises over the next 10-20 years and then even more seriously beyond. It is now clear that the challenges of energy, water and food security cannot be dealt with in isolation, yet there is insufficient understanding of the interactions between these convergent pressures and mediating processes (climate, technology, the economy etc.). For governments, businesses and scientists who are accustomed to dealing with individual sectors and disciplines, interdependence brings enormous complexity, both in analysing problems and in implementing solutions.

This session will take a deliberately integrative approach to examining the processes by which energy, water and food security issues interact with one another and to exploring the options and opportunities for management responses. Is the prospect of a "perfect storm" of convergent processes realistic and under what circumstances? What are the regional variations and where are the hot spots? Given the urgency of the challenges, what are the responses that need to be in place and on what timescale?

The target audience ranges from scientists who are analysing the nature of these convergent processes, to policy makers who are seeking to respond to the threats of energy, water and food security. Contributions from specialists and practitioners in business and governance, especially in developing countries, will be essential in understanding the way ahead.

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