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The key findings of the papers are discussed in relation to previous research in the field specifically related to four crosscutting themes: (i) global-local linkages and external dependencies; (ii) stability and non-stability of regimes; (iii) undemocratic and non-egalitarian nature of regimes; and (iv) nurturing the development of niches versus the execution of individual projects.
The introductory paper concludes by presenting a research agenda, which aims to provide promising avenues for future research on sustainability transitions in developing countries.
The papers use different theoretical lenses applied in the sustainability transitions literature, such as the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions (MLP), the strategic niche management perspective (SNM), the transition management perspective (TM) and the technological innovation systems perspective (TIS) (see , and these will be discussed in relation to how they build on and contribute to advancement of the existing understanding of how transitions toward sustainability are likely to take place in developing countries, and conditions that promote and constrain them.
WSIS Stocktaking has been playing a crucial role during many years and this role takes on even greater significance in the light of the WSIS 10 review process on the implementation of WSIS outcomes.While the notion of “developing countries” is contested both theoretically and politically, not least due to its implicit normative assumption of these countries being in a state of under-development, the existence of a pre-determined trajectory of progress, and a definite meaning of progress itself (), we use the concept here to emphasise that in spite of large differences across this broad category, there are some common social, cultural, economic and political conditions in these countries, which differentiate them from so-called “developed countries”.These similar conditions include for example a weaker state apparatus, less efficient bureaucracies, higher levels of political and economic instability, less transparency in legal proceedings and enforcement of legal frameworks and relatively high levels of economic and social inequality (Lachman, 2012 ; Ramos-Mejía, 2018).The findings presented in the papers contained in this special issue are also of high practical relevance for stakeholders involved in the practicalities and problem-solving aspects of sustainability transitions in developing countries, including policy makers, government agencies, planners, donors, private businesses and industry and NGOs.In this introductory paper, we start by highlighting some of the main structural differences between developed countries and developing countries, which may influence the manner in which transitions toward sustainability unfold in the latter as opposed to the former.
The idea for this special issue originated at the International Sustainability Transitions Conference in 2015 at SPRU, Sussex University, where the guest editors of the special issue convened a special session on sustainability transitions in developing countries.