Melissa Leach

Challenging inequalities and unsustainabilities

Melissa Leach, head of the Institute of Development Studies speaks about the linkages between inequality and sustainability. Watch her #KAPTalks below.

Wednesday 02.11.2016

Across the world, the rise of multiple forms of inequality, and growing environmental problems such as climate change and resource degradation, present defining challenges of our era. These challenges are interlinked, and affect people locally, nationally and globally with devastating consequences for wellbeing and security, and for the achievement of global development goals. Yet pathways to more equal and sustainable futures are possible. These involve innovative combinations of top-down and bottom-up strategies, and novel alliances between states, markets, technologies – and crucially, the knowledge and action of citizens themselves. As examples from urban and rural settings in Asia and Africa show, power and politics are critical in enabling such pathways to unfold, and shaping whether they add up to the transformational change needed to secure more equal, sustainable futures.   

Organized in partnership with:

Melissa Leach is Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. She founded and directed the ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre ( from 2006 – 2014. A geographer and social anthropologist, her interdisciplinary, policy-engaged research in Africa and beyond links health, environment, technology and gender, with particular interests in knowledge, power and the politics of science and policy processes. Her most recent books include The Politics of Green Transformations (eds with I. Scoones and P. Newell, 2015), Carbon Conflicts and Forest Landscapes in Africa (ed with I. Scoones 2015) and Gender Equality and Sustainable Development (2015). She is also vice-chair of the Science Committee of Future Earth and a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-food).

Other lectures of the speaker

On this topic