Governance innovations for sustainable development

Sustainable development is the promise of a political response to a number of issues, and governance is the coordination of that response. Governance is therefore the way in which sustainable development is built. Its objective is to encourage the transformation of societies and to guarantee the “good life”, according to the commitments made at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and reformulated in 2015 at the adoption of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Institutions of governance for sustainable development have changed relatively little since Rio 1992 and their status has been eroded by the mixed results observed since. However, we live in the era of decentralized initiatives, “alliances” and “coalitions for change” that bring together, in an ad hoc basis, public and private actors both from the North and the South for specific sustainability goals. Sustainable development evolves outside of its institutions, as much as it does within the framework defined by these institutions. Focusing on the production of “solutions”, these initiatives are a valuable contribution to the overall objectives of sustainability. They do not, however, eliminate the need to construct a collective representation of problems from the outset, which is part of the mandate of the institutions.


The aim of IDDRI is to describe the transformations of the governance of sustainable development in its institutional and non-institutional components, and to organize the debate on its achievements with respect to the overall Agenda 2030 objectives.



To this end, IDDRI:

  • critically examines the performance of the main institutions, whether or not they are dedicated to sustainable development;
  • analyses the emerging alliances and their results, to understand and broaden the field of solutions and compromises;
  • ensures that these transformations do not take place at the expense of certain actors, in particular the weakest or most vulnerable.


The IDDRI Governance agenda thus targets several work areas:

  • monitoring the establishment of new international institutions for sustainable development and the appropriation of SDGs by all European actors;
  • governance of sustainable development financing, whether public or private;
  • the analysis of the determinants of international sustainable development governance to identify the requirements for cooperation in trade.  


>> An interview with Tancrède Voituriez (SDGs, ODA, financing sustainable development, etc.) on May 11, 2016, in the framework of an intervention at the French Conseil économique, social et environnemental (CESE).