Dr. Tariq Banuri is a professor in the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah, an expert on sustainable development policy, and an Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute. He served most recently as the Director of the UN Division for Sustainable Development. Earlier, he had been instrumental in the design of a number of institutions and networks on sustainable development, including the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP), the Asia Centre of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the UN Office of Sustainable Development (UNOSD), the Ring Alliance, the Sustainable Mekong Research Network, the Human Development Foundation of North America, and the Great Transition Initiative.
This founding proposal of the Great Transition Initiative laid out GTI’s original aims: to involve an expanding group of engaged thinkers and thoughtful activists in an exploration of ways to envision and crystallize a transition to a future of hope. The document describes the motivation for GTI and proposes tasks for launching the process. It was shaped by the comments of scores of GTI endorsers worldwide, representing the concerns of North and South, environment and justice, peace and liberty, and reflecting the diversity that is the bedrock of the Initiative.
The planetary phase of history has begun, but the future shape of global society remains profoundly uncertain. Though perhaps improbable, a shift toward a planetary civilization of enriched lives, human solidarity, and environmental sustainability is still possible. This treatise examines the historic roots of this fateful crossroads, analyzes alternative scenarios that can emerge from contemporary forces and contradictions, and points to strategies and choices for advancing a Great Transition. It synthesizes the insights of the Global Scenario Group, convened in 1995 by the Tellus Institute and Stockholm Environment Institute to explore the requirements for a sustainable and desirable future.