Introduction | Literature Search | Purpose and Objective | Expected Significance | Organization, Qualification and Staffing | Expected results | Scope of Activities | Technical Methodology | Foreign Collaborators

Project Title: Cognitive, Genetic and Neural Integrated Models for the Sustainable Development of the Regions

Research manager of the project: Oleg M. Namicheishvili, Professor, Dr. Sci. (Tech.)

Leading organization: Georgian Technical University          

What are other people doing?

 

The existing models in the area of sustainable development represent the historical conceptualisation of sustainability starting from environmental constraints and
moving towards economic valuation and social behaviour and policies. We have witnessed the establishment of a highly complex, vibrant and holistic new area of
scientific endeavour which will be bringing together scholarship and practice shaping human understanding, behaviour, innovation, decision­making and actions in the years
to come. This science is still in the process of defining and developing its analytic and scientific underpinning, approach, tools, objectives, aims and tasks.


A major part of the efforts to further knowledge in this area has been the application of computer­based models that attempt to capture mainly environmental and
economic aspects of the sustainability imperatives,
such as computable general equilibrium, econometric, optimisation and hybrid models or emissions and land use models
(J. O’Doherty, K. Mayor, R.S.J. Tol). They all rely on the availability of data as well as on methodologies for valuation of the environment informed by recent developments
in economics. What is apparent is the lack of a new approach to handling what
S.Dovers describes as «the fundamental, structural inconsistencies between natural and
human systems. The causes of sustainability problems lie deep in patterns of consumption and production, settlement and governance
» that any modeling, be it boosted
by the unprecedented computer power, so far has left untouched.

 

The scale and time dimensions of the current sustainability problems are unprecedented in at least three aspects: firstly, never before has humanity experienced
such profound effects from globalisation; secondly, the importance of the human­made world and the laws that govern it, such as the market mechanisms, has grown to
become comparable to that of the natural systems; and thirdly, the tools that society and science have developed to handle policy formulation, decision­making and
governance (mainly informed by discipline­based assessment methodologies) have been focused on the short to medium term and therefore inadequate from an
intergenerational sustainability perspective. A new area of research, namely sustainometrics, is emerging charged with the task to model and measure sustainability
[45, 46, 47], but the required new scientific approaches, tools and methodologies are still in their infancy.
Sustainometrics represents a way to describe the interconnectedness
of five domains of human activity -- environmental, socio-cultural, technological, economics, and public policy -- and their interplay with regard to achieving the goals
of sustainability. Taken together, the five domains of sustainometrics can guide holistic solutions balancing human needs with the depletion of natural resources
.

Тhere are five major categories of models, used for the representation and study of sustainable development. Notably:

- quantitative models (including mathematical, statistical, data­based, econometric and computer simulation),

- pictorial visualisation (including the Venn diagram, graphic representation, pictures and drawings),

- conceptual models (representing particular concepts and theories),

- standardising models (including indicators, benchmark values and targets) and

- physical models (a smaller or larger physical version of the object/system that allows visualisation and further investigation).

Pictorial Visualization Models is described by A.M. Hasna, P.­M. Boulanger, T. Bréchet, D. Marinova, N. McGrath, J.G.Speth at alias. Description: Venn diagrams,
flow charts, drawings. Positive: Basic, simple and powerful of reaching a broad audience. Emphasise the need for transdisciplinarity. Negative: Static models; with
limited informative value.

 

Quantitative Models is described by P.­M. Boulanger, T. Bréchet, S. Faucheux, D. Pearce, J. Proops, S. Lyons, R.S.J. Tol, J. O’Doherty,
K. Mayor, L.A. Andriantiatsaholiniaina, V.S. Kouikoglou, Y.A. Phillis, J. Scheffran. Description: Based on mathematics, statistics and system analysis. Created in
econometrics, sociometrics, biometrics, they systematize, measure, compare, represent various aspects of sustainable development. Range of application:
macro-econometric models, system dynamics models; general equilibrium models, Bayesian network models; optimization models, multi-agent simulation models. Positive:
More informative, accurate and potentially powerful for analysis and forecasting. Support policy-making. Negative: Restricted models. They remain discipline-dominated.

 

Physical Models is described by D. Hellström, U. Jeppsson, E. Kärrman, C.D. Levings, S. Karlsson. Description: Based on creation and/or  recreation of various
ecosystems - water, energy, buildings and urban design, handling of pollution and waste, recreation of habitat including industrial ecology, toxicity. They are used mainly
for environmental components. Positive: Realistic, reduce uncertainty. Allow for a participatory approach and interdisciplinary perspectives. Negative: Very specific
and predominantly local models. Their time span is quite restricted.

 

Conceptual Models is described by D. Meadows, D.L. Meadows, J. Randers, W. Behrens, R.P. Turco, O.B. Toon, T.P. Ackerman, J.B. Pollack, C. Sagan,
K.T. Litfin, J.G. Speth, R. Costanza, L. Wainger, C. Folke, K­G. Mäler, S. Begley. Description: Very popular. Based on scenarios. Often narrative. They are linked to
humanity’s waking up to the limits of its natural environment and negative impacts: The work of the Club of Rome, «Nuclear winter», Various futuristic scenarios . Positive:
Long-term and inter-generational perspective. Cross the borders of many disciplines. Evolutionary concept. Contain some warning elements. Negative: Emphasis on the
global, local concrete solutions rare. Often linked with political agendas. Ideologically laden. Inability to manage uncertainty.

 

Standardising Models described by M. Hart, T. Jackson, P. Roberts, A.C. Brooks, W. Rees, S. Bell, S. Morse, E. Yunis. Description: Based on development and
application of sustainability indicators. An area of active research and practice that has received a lot of attention. Variety of  lists and descriptions, UN list of
Sustainable Development Indicators, Various sets applicable at community, corporate, national, state or local government level, Gross national happiness. Positive: Attempt
to develop a holistic or aggregate indicator to measure sustainability. Assign a value that describes complexity signal current issues. Negative: Accommodate a very
specific local–global perspective. A good snapshot for the particular moment. Based on individual trends.

 

At the end of the 20th century in a majority of countries in the world, successful resolution of social-economic, political, demographic and ecological problems was
largely dependent on the protection of population and engineering-economic objects from natural disasters and the ensuring conditions for their sustainable development. 
These problems are most acute in mountainous regions, like Georgia, where unplanned development of natural ecosystems results in drastic consequences. It is
therefore necessary to understand not only the probability of changing conditions (natural as well as political and demographic), but also the probability of the
resulting economic losses.

 

In 1996, pursuant to Order №763 of the President of Georgia, the National Commission for  Sustainable Development of Georgia was founded. The primary objective of
the Commission was to develop the strategy for sustainable development of Georgia. Despite the requirements specified by the Georgian legislation of 1996, no strategy
for sustainable development has been elaborated up to date.

 

It should also be noted that according to the Law on Environmental Protection, rules governing the development and time-frame of the country’s strategy for
sustainable  development, its national environmental action program and its regional, local and sectoral environmental programs, have be specified by the Georgian
legislation. The same applies to environmental management plans for enterprises. However, so far these rules have not been specified by the Georgian legislation either.

 

Georgia as a developing country has a great diversity of ecological, social, and economic settings, each with highly specific peculiarities. There will never be
enough intensive long-term scientific research on sustainable technology to meet all needs
of the country. The research that is done on new technologies has historically
tended to benefit rather small and privileged groups, and the long term effects on social and ecological sustainability, even of a technically beneficial innovation, can
still be negative.

 

Zurab Davitashvili, Koba Arabuli, Niko Beruchashvili, Dali Nikolaishvili et al. are the leading Georgian scientists and specialists in the Sustainable Development.

 

How are their results being applied?

 

Invention and innovation have proven to be crucial components for the development of modern societies. However, 1.3 billion people who currently live on less
than a dollar a day do not enjoy the benefits that many modern inventions have brought. At the same time some key new technologies are known to have caused
enormous damage to the global environment.

 

Sustainable development is the practice of protecting the environment while improving living standards for all, and invention and innovation is key to its
success. Invention and innovation for sustainable development isn’t just about developing new technology, but includes new processes and new ways of solving
old problems—creative thinking is the
dependable guide book.

 

Despite the fact that people everywhere have an innate ability to be creative, rich countries are not doing enough to stimulate and harness invention and creative
thinking, and poor countries tend to stifle innovation and creativity outright. This is typically due to a combination of factors: insufficient financial resources, lack of role
models, education systems that don’t inspire or value creativity, and social/political environments that discourage creativity, invention and entrepreneurship
.

 

Innovation to help achieve the goals of sustainable development can start in many ways, including: “copy-catting” (i.e. Japan, Korea and China first
mimicking manufacturing techniques and then becoming world leaders.); “piggy-backing” (i.e. India performing service work for rich countries and adapting
information technology to local needs); and “leap-frogging” (skipping over technologies that are inappropriate in a given place and time and adopting more
sustainable solutions).

 

The models of sustainable development are designed to find the most optimal solutions for achieving such development, notably for protecting the environment
while improving the living standards for all.

 

Practical application of mathematical modeling in sustainable development is the key to solving problems such as: aagriculture, atmosphere, biodiversity,
desertification and drought, energy, forests, freshwater, land management, mountains, oceans and coastal areas, toxic chemicals, waste and hazardous materials etc.