Next generation application of DPSIR for sustainable policy implementation

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Shane A. Carnohan
  • Trier, Xenia
  • Suxia Liu
  • Lauge P.W. Clausen
  • Jai K. Clifford-Holmes
  • Steffen F. Hansen
  • Lorenzo Benini
  • Ursula S. McKnight

As our societies and natural systems are becoming ever more interconnected, it is critical that sustainable management can adapt to new knowledge from both the ecological and the social domains, and act on it in a timely and effective manner. This need is amplifying in the Anthropocene as we are approaching the limit for humanity's safe operating space, leading to irreversible change to ecosystem function. This urgently requires increased attention and concern regarding the information feedbacks between the silos of science, policy and society. A web of policies is in place to protect the health of people and the planet, but to ensure that they are effective we need frameworks to make sense of real-world complexities and interlinkages between multiple factors. The Drivers-Pressures-State-Impacts-Response (DPSIR) framework was created for this purpose, however, its' implicit focus on 1) analytical and 2) procedural aspects must be made explicit, to enable coordination across silos and studies. Continued creation of new DPSIR derivatives may limit its impact, while more explicit coordination between these two aspects can improve the effectiveness of DPSIR while retaining its flexibility. We thus propose five elements to support sustainable policy development and implementation using DPSIR: 1) iteration; 2) risk, uncertainty and analytical bias; 3) flexible integration; 4) use of quantitative methods, and; 5) clear and standard definitions for DPSIR. We illustrate these elements in four cases: Three highlight missing feedbacks when DPSIR elements are not made explicit and a fourth case – on per-and-polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) – showing a potential roadmap to successful policy implementation using DPSIR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100201
JournalCurrent Research in Environmental Sustainability
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

    Research areas

  • DPSIR, European Green Deal, Knowledge co-production, PFAS, Systems thinking

ID: 333776008