Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL1047: Global Sustainability Governance and Policy

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.


NQF Level 4
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Nick Kirsop-Taylor (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


Multiple transnational challenges face policy-makers in the 21st Century, raising questions over how they should be governed in practice. In this respect, the United Nations has set out a normative agenda for future global policy up to the year 2030 via its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed by national governments in 2012. These goals encompass the critical issues of our times, including reducing poverty, ensuring access to clean water, promoting clean energy, preserving oceans, reducing inequality and maintaining global security. Achieving them will require innovative critical thinking and novel, interdisciplinary policy solutions.


This foundation module seeks to identify, discuss and evaluate emerging policy responses to these challenges at multiple institutional levels as basis for lesson-drawing. Drawing on theories of governance as an analytical lens it will: examine the context relating to the SDGs; provide an overview of the UN targets; introduce a range of governance theories (for example, multi-level governance, network governance, regulatory governance, collaborative governance, urban governance, polycentric governance, mixed governance, global governance); and provide an empirical and theoretical analysis of critical policy challenges to attaining the SDGs.


The module will be of interest to students from many disciplines, initially and principally in political science and international relations, but also in other social science subjects and interdisciplinary pathways.

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