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About Liveable Planet

With a multidisciplinary approach, the Liveable Planet programme will assist scientists and their local communities that take up a collective responsibility to develop in a sustainable way.

Work towards a common goal

A habitable, resourceful planet for humans and other life forms requires a balance of both environmental and social variables such as: clean air, water and soil, rich biodiversity, stable climate, security, freedom, peace, human health, and wellbeing. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Achieving these goals is a grand challenge given the growing world population, increasing prosperity, and increasing societal inequity.

Approach in three practical steps

To tackle this major challenge, we follow three steps: 

  • analyse the community – ecology interactions at the local scale 
  • connect the global Sustainable Development Goals with communities, and vice versa, via the regional and national scale  
  • explore how to provide tools, management systems, incentive structures and governance arrangements that can help communities develop in a sustainable direction  

The global Sustainable Development Goals, as well as national targets, put constraints on local communities. The other way round, the values of a local community and its individuals must be respected in national and global policies and agreements.

Interdisciplinary and inclusive partnership

The Liveable Planet research programme was initiated by the faculties of Science (environmental science, supervision), Archaeology, Governance & Global Affairs (public administration) and Social & Behavioural Sciences (anthropology).

We invite other disciplines of these faculties, for instance biology and chemistry, to join. All other faculties of Leiden University are encouraged to participate as well. 

We collaborate with multiple parties outside Leiden University, among which the University of Applied Sciences Leiden, Leiden University Medical Center, universities of Delft, Rotterdam and Wageningen, and Naturalis Biodiversity Center. 

The Liveable Planet programme is a broad collaboration and welcomes more parties to join.

Including sustainability in every curriculum

The Liveable Planet program will contribute to integration of sustainability in educational programs dedicated to the bachelor, masters and PhD level. All study programmes at Leiden University are encouraged to include sustainability topics in their curricula. Read more about Leiden University's curriculum on sustainability on the Education page.

Distinct research themes

The programme is centered around four themes: (bio)diversity for sustainability, anticipating a changing world, living labs and citizen science, nature and human interactions. Read more about them on the Research page.

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