Monday, February 22, 2016

Local Sustainable Development and Global Challenges: Exploring Spaces and Scales of Sustainability

Conference call for papers
Local Sustainable Development and Global Challenges: Exploring Spaces and Scales of Sustainability
15-20 May 2017, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalin, Russia

This international conference explores sustainable development initiatives at the local and regional levels and how these relate to national and global processes.

Although there is general support for the ideal of sustainability, visions of sustainable development can differ significantly at local, regional, national, and global scales. That which is good for the local community does not necessarily contribute to global sustainability, and global challenges such as climate change, falling biodiversity, and inequality of opportunity are not necessarily the most pressing concerns locally. How should community-level sustainable development initiatives be practiced, and who should practice them? To what degree should local and regional decision-makers prioritise the sustainability of their own communities? How can the often-competing needs of local and global, short-term and long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability be balanced when a variety of governmental and non-governmental actors are involved in decision-making at a variety of levels? Should any particular space or scale for sustainable development be privileged over others? By exploring these and other questions, 'Local Sustainable Development and Global Challenges' will advance our understanding of sustainable development through an examination of what sustainability means in practice.

About Sakhalin.
Sakhalin (population 498,000) is the largest island in Russia, stretching 948 km through the Sea of Okhotsk. Sakhalin's regional capital and largest city is Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (population 189,000). Peripheral to Russia's centres of power, Sakhalin has been subject to settlement and colonisation by numerous peoples over the past millennia. Under Japanese colonialism in the first half of the 20th Century, large numbers of Korean workers were brought into southern half of the island, which retains a significant population of Sakhalin Koreans. This history of labour migration as well as regional and international engagement has continued with the flourishing of the Sakhalin's oil and gas industries in recent decades, transforming this remote and peripheral island into an important bastion of the Russian economy.

With its mountainous geography, rugged coasts, and deep forests, this sparsely populated island is a nature lover's paradise. Yet Sakhalin also raises difficult questions regarding sustainable development: How does the island's current oil boom relate to its own social, economic, and environmental sustainability? When a local economy is dominated by multinational business interests, how can local values be protected? And bearing in mind global concerns regarding climate change, can an economy based on extractive industries and fossil fuels ever be locally and regionally justified?

About the conference.
On 15-17 May, delegates will explore Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and its surrounding areas, visiting nature areas, industrial zones, cultural sites, local businesses, and government offices in order to understand the form that sustainable development might take in Sakhalin. Conference presentations will take place on 18-19 May at Sakhalin State University. On 20 May, delegates will have the opportunity to venture out into Sakhalin's wild nature.

This Island Dynamics conference is a collaboration with Sakhalin State University.

How to make a presentation.
Conference presentations will concern all aspects of social, economic, and environmental sustainability, with a focus on local and regional sustainable development initiatives and their interaction with global problems and values. Presentations can take the form of case studies, comparative research, or theoretical and review pieces. The conference is open to researchers, policymakers, NGO representatives, and community representatives from around the globe. You are also welcome to attend the conference without giving a presentation.

The deadline for abstracts is 31 July 2016, but to ensure that you have the opportunity to take part in the conference and have the time to seek funding from your institution or government, we recommend that you submit your abstract early:

If you have any questions, feel free to contact conference convenor Adam Grydehøj at

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