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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Underpinning and Contributing to Sustainability Research

Recognizing that serious and existential global, regional and local sustainability challenges still exist, world leaders unanimously adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and intended to drive the sustainable development agenda to 2030. Although the SDGs recognize economic, environmental and social sustainability issues, they are not in themselves solutions to the many such global, regional and local problems. In other words, to end poverty in all its forms for example, it requires innovative measures and sound applied research to achieve. Moreover, ending poverty (SDG 1) is tightly coupled to other goals such as ‘education (SDG 4)’, ‘sanitation (SDG 6)’, ‘environmental protection and conservation (SDGs 13, 14, 15)’ and more; which in themselves are plagued by multiple sustainability challenges.

Sustainability research embraces a systems approach, shuns to a great extent a reductionist, mono-disciplinary focus and is embedded in a coupled social-ecological perspective. In this regard, systems and sub-systems are analyzed from a holistic standpoint. Therefore, social, environmental and economic sustainability challenges experienced at multiple spatial and temporal scales can be confronted by sustainability research. With the intent of a holistic approach to achieving the SDGs, sustainability research can be aligned to and underpinned by the SDGs.

This special issue therefore seeks to address a broad spectrum of themes that demonstrate the role(s) of the SDGs in underpinning and contributing to sustainability research. We are interested however, in papers that highlight trans and inter-disciplinary research.

Examples of key themes and SDG(s) include:

Sustainability Research Themes Examples of SDGs
Sustainable agricultural and food systems SDG 1: End poverty; SDG 2: End hunger; SDG 3: Good health and well-being; SDG 4: Quality education
Sustainable urban systems SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities;
Sustainable enterprises and employment SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth;
SDG 4: Quality education
Sustainable natural resource management systems SDG 14: Life below water; SDG 15: Life on land; SDG 13: Climate change
Sustainable governance systems SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

John N Telesford

Guest Editor

Submission Deadline: 30 June 2019

Online Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online through Hapres Online Submission System. Please visit Guide for Authors before submitting a manuscript. Authors are encouraged to submit a paper as soon as it is ready and don’t need to wait until the deadline. Submissions will be sent to peer-review in order of arrival. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the Journal of Sustainability Research and then gathered together on the special issue webpage. We welcome Research articles, Review papers and Short Communications.

See Papers Published in This Special Issue (12 papers)


Virtual Special Issue (VSI) is a collection of papers centered around a specific topic, led by an expert (Guest Editor) in the field. Virtual Special Issues are an important component of our journal and cover current hot topics within the scope of the journal.

All papers belonging to a Virtual Special Issue will be gathered together on a single webpage. They are published in the regular issues of the journal as soon as publishable, and labeled as belonging to the Virtual Special Issue. A link from each paper will take you to the Virtual Special Issue website.

Submissions to Virtual Special Issues will undergo the same rigorous peer-review process as regular papers submitted to the journal.

Guest Editor

  • John N Telesford

    School of Continuing Education, T.A. Marryshow Community College

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