Science does not progress without controversy as well the societies. In this article, this approach is privileged, aiming to analyze whether they can hinder or speed up the agricultural and food, environmental and sanitary transitions necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It begins with an alert to the past development model and the limits of the planet, highlighting some themes and forms of action chosen by international institutions and / or scientist’s networks. Then, we selected some controversies and their arguments, related to environmental issues and the evolution of food systems. In the subsequent item, its actors and five sub controversies sought to highlight the difficulties for the transition to circular systems, considered as a vector of sustainability. It is concluded that controversies can block advances for transitions, being essential the design of methods, criteria and indicators for a better understanding of oppositions, as well as the need to include both themes and new approaches in research agendas.

Author Biographies

Neli de Mello Théry, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo (SP), Brasil

Doutora em Geographie - Universite de Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Defense (2002) e em Geografia Humana, pela Universidade de São Paulo (2002). Desde 2008 é professor associado da Universidade de São Paulo, com livre docência sobre a tematica das terras publicas federais na Amazônia e sua relação com o meio ambiente e a gestão. E pesquisador-associado da Universidade de Brasília. Foi professor visitante na Université de Rennes II (2005) e na Université Paris Sorbonne-Nouvelle (2008). Sua experiência, na área de Geografia, abrange principalmente os seguintes temas: gestão ambiental, dinâmicas territoriais, meio ambiente e desenvolvimento sustentável, políticas ambientais, políticas territoriais, gestão urbana e ordenamento territorial, meio ambiente e políticas internacionais. É coordenadora do Grupo de Pesquisa Políticas públicas, territorialidades e sociedade do Instituto de Estudos Avançados da USP. É autora de Políticas Territoriais na Amazônia (2006) e co-autora do Atlas do Brasil - Disparidades e Dinâmicas do Território (2005, 2008) entre outros livros.

Patrick Caron, Cirad, France

Doctor, and holds a certification to direct geographical research. He is a specialist in livestock raising systems and territorial dynamics, and has worked on analyzing the role of the territory in rural transformations, with a focus on Brazil, Southern Africa and the Middle East. He has been at CIRAD since 1988 and was Deputy General Director for Research and Strategy from 2010 to 2016, Director of the Environments and Societies Department from 2007 to 2010, and Scientific Director of the Territories, Environment and Actors Department from 2001 to 2004. He is a member of a number of national and international scientific

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How to Cite
THÉRY, Neli de Mello; CARON, Patrick. CONTROVERSIES AND TRANSITIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. Mercator, Fortaleza, v. 19, oct. 2020. ISSN 1984-2201. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 06 mar. 2021. doi: