Ana Paula Aguiar is the Principal Investigator for XPaths. She is a researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and at the Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE). Her research focuses on pathways to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, with a focus on cross-scale participatory processes.

As the PI of the project, we asked her a few questions about her career leading up to XPaths and what we can expect from the project.

What is your academic background?
I hold a Bachelor degree in Computer Science (UNICAMP in Brazil), MSc in Remote Sensing/Image Processing and PhD in Remote Sensing/Environmental Modelling (INPE in Brazil).

Before XPaths, what have you been working on?
From 2016 to 2021, I contributed to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in several ways. In particular, I was a Lead Author in IPBES Global Assessment launched in 2019 and as an Expert in the scoping of the Nexus Assessment. I have also contributed eventually to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a Scenario Expert.

In 2017, I joined the Stockholm Resilience Centre to contribute to activities around the UN's Agenda 2030. Particularly, and initiative called The World In 2050 (TWI2050), which supports the policy process and implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 SDGs. Related to that, currently I am part of the SHAPE consortium team. Our role at SRC is to organize the participatory process to co-design the new scenario narratives.

What do you hope XPaths will achieve?
I hope it will generate knowledge at multiple levels and sectors of society about the current problems, their underlying causes and how to overcome them to reach the future people want - a sustainable future.

How did the idea for XPaths come about?
It was a long gestation as I have always dreamed about a multi-scale, multi-site process like this, from local to global discussing sustainability pathways. But the key was meeting Deborah, and talking loosely at first about doing a project linking Brazil and Senegal. The exact same day, we read about the "One Million Cisterns" initiative from Brazil being transported to West Africa by FAO. We both thought: yes, we are going to do this!!! One of those magical moments.

What are you most excited about for the project?
About going back to the field. I love it. Well... I hope COVID in Brazil allows it.