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The Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS) is a bottom-up, scholarly initiative furthering the cause of sustainability. Launched in 2015 by the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), it gathers scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds and establishes connections with societal parties at multiple scale levels. CSDS frames sustainability as a process that addresses the urgent environmental issues of this time, while attending to problems of poverty, inequality and human indignity.

The purpose of CSDS is to

Provide the University of Amsterdam with a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experience on contemporary sustainability challenges, both local and global. It furthers the development of a lively sustainability community within the faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and the promotion of cutting-edge research as well as education.


CSDS complements other UvA initiatives with regard to sustainability, particularly to the objective of building a lively sustainability community. It also encourages teaching programmes on sustainability issues, connects and seeks collaboration across the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences. It distinguishes itself through its bottom-up, platform-oriented approach.

CSDS was established by the Governance and Inclusive Development (GID) programme group of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) in 2015 and since then has actively collaborated with other faculties, broadened its base and its scope. CSDS’s efforts were aimed at consolidating work at the UvA, organizing national academic debates on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and positioning the UvA as a prominent national actor in the field of sustainability and the SDGs.

A first national conference on critical and constructive perspectives on the SDGs took place in 2016; a second conference (2018) focused on the climate, water and food goals (SDG 2,6 and 13). The third conference, which highlighted the Education goal (SDG4), took place online in January 2021. The Vrije Universiteit, The Institute for Social Studies, the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and the Centre for Urban Studies at the UvA have been co-sponsors of these biennial conferences.