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The Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) hosts and brings together partners at UvA and other locations in the Netherlands, which work on sustainable development.


In 2016, the CSDS organized a first Conference on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. In 2018, it is organizing a Conference that offers critical perspectives on the progress and implementation of the SDGs in collaboration with UNESCO-IHE, the Amsterdam Business School, Kennisactieprogramma Water and the VU Science for Sustainability Program. In light of the beginning of the UN’s International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development’, the focus of this year’s conference is on fresh water (SDG 6) in connection to food (SDG 2) and climate (SDG13). Furthermore, it pays attention to crucial governance and institutional factors facilitating and/or hampering sustainable development, especially peace and partnership. The Conference will be an extension of the ‘We Make the City’ Conference of the Municipality of Amsterdam (20-24 June) and will take place on the 25th and 26th of June 2018 at UvA’s Roeterseiland complex. For this conference, we are in the process of developing collaborations with many other educational and research institutes in the Netherlands.

Conference Goals

The aim of the 2018 Conference is to mobilize scholars, policy makers, business and civil society to share their perspectives on and critically review these three Goals and their related targets as well as their potential for mobilizing the world to more equitable and environmentally sustainable futures. We will discuss the underlying discourses that shape the interpretation of these Goals as well as the institutional contexts in which they need to be implemented. The SDGs are discussed individually and in relation to each other. We will critically assess the Goals and related targets and indicators, as well as go beyond them to understand whether such tools are the best way to achieve more equitable and environmentally sustainable futures. We will also assess the various instruments that are promoted for their achievement.

The conference will be opened by the rectors of four educational institutes – where we will debate the role of scholarship in achieving the SDGs. Aside from morning and afternoon plenary sessions there will be between five to eight parallel sessions in four rounds organized on the two days. The conference output will include:

(a)  Research questions for the academic community; and

(b)  Policy briefs for business, policymakers and NGOs


This is explicitly meant to be an inclusive conference and we invite all to join. There are three ways to participate in our Conference – as participants in the sessions, as organizers of specific workshops, and/or as financial co-sponsors of the event. Please contact: