Earth System Governance Project

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The Earth System Governance Project[1] is a long-term, interdisciplinary social science research programme originally developed under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions program on Global Environmental Change, and started January 2009. The Earth System Governance Project Office is hosted at Lund University, Sweden.

The Earth System Governance Project currently consists of a network of ca. 300 active and about 2,300 indirectly involved scholars from all continents, and is the largest social science research network in the area of governance and global environmental change.

The aim of the Earth System Governance Project is to address with cutting-edge science the large, complex challenges of governance in the face of intensifying global environmental change and earth system transformation, and to create a better understanding of the role of institutions, organizations and governance mechanisms by which humans regulate their relationship with the natural environment and global biochemical systems.

The Earth System Governance Project, while being essentially a scientific effort, is also designed to assist policy responses to the pressing problems of earth system transformation. All analytical problems studied in the project have profound policy implications.[2]

Conceptual framework[edit]

The Earth System Governance Project organizes its research according to a conceptual framework,[3] guided by five analytical problems. These are the problems of the overall architecture of earth system governance, of agency beyond the state and of the state, of the adaptiveness of governance mechanisms and processes, of their accountability and legitimacy and of modes of allocation and access in earth system governance.

The concept of Earth System Governance is defined as:

... the interrelated and increasingly integrated system of formal and informal rules, rule-making systems, and actor-networks at all levels of human society (from local to global) that are set up to steer societies towards preventing, mitigating, and adapting to global and local environmental change and, in particular, earth system transformation, within the normative context of sustainable development.[4]

The Earth System Governance Project, while being essentially a scientific effort, is also designed to assist policy responses to the pressing problems of earth system transformation. All analytical problems studied in the project have profound policy implications.[5]

Origin and history[edit]

In 2001, the four then active global change research programmes (DIVERSITAS, International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, World Climate Research Programme, and International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change) agreed to intensify co-operation through setting up an overarching Earth System Science Partnership. The research communities represented in this Partnership contend in the 2001 Amsterdam Declaration on Global Change[6] that the earth system now operates ‘well outside the normal state exhibited over the past 500,000 years’ and that ‘human activity is generating change that extends well beyond natural variability—in some cases, alarmingly so— and at rates that continue to accelerate.’ To cope with this challenge, the four global change research programmes have called ‘urgently’ for strategies for Earth System management’.[7]

In March 2007, in response to the 2001 Amsterdam Declaration, the Scientific Committee of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), the overarching social science programme in the field, mandated the drafting of the Science Plan of the Earth System Governance Project by a newly appointed Scientific Planning Committee.

The Earth System Governance Project builds on the results of an earlier long-term research programme, the IHDP core project Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDGEC).

In 2008, the Earth System Governance Project was officially launched during a reception in New Delhi, India, where the synthesis results from its preceding research project (Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change - IDGEC) were presented[8]

In 2009, the Science and Implementation Plan[9] of the Earth System Governance Project was published. In the science and implementation plan, the conceptual problems, cross-cutting themes, flagship projects, and its policy relevance are outlined in detail. The Science Plan was written by an international, interdisciplinary Scientific Planning Committee chaired by Prof. Frank Biermann, which drew on a consultative process that started in 2004. Several working drafts of this Science Plan have been presented and discussed at a series of international events and conferences, and numerous scholars in the field, as well as practitioners, have offered suggestions, advice, and critique.

Since then, the project has evolved into a broader research alliance that builds on an international network of research centers, lead faculty and research fellows. After the termination of the IHDP in 2014, the activities of the Earth System Governance research alliance are supported by an international steering group of representatives of the main Earth System Governance Research Centres and the global group of lead faculty and research fellows.

Global research network[edit]

For its activities and implementation, the Earth System Governance Project relies on a global network that reflects the interdisciplinary, international, and multi-scale challenge of its research agenda. To this end, the project has built a global network that includes following groups:

  • Scientific Steering Committee - The Earth System Governance Project operates under the direction of a Scientific Steering Committee. The role of the Scientific Steering Committee is to guide the implementation of the Earth System Governance Science Plan.
  • Lead Faculty - The Lead Faculty of the Earth System Governance Project is a group of individual scientists of high international reputation who will take over (shared) responsibility for the development of research on particular analytical problems.
  • Research Fellows, and Senior Research Fellows - Earth System Governance Fellows are early to mid-level career colleagues who seek to link their own research projects with the broader themes and questions advanced by the Earth System Governance Science and Implementation Plan.
  • An important element in the project organisation is the global alliance of research centres that brings together the VU University Amsterdam; the Australian National University; Chiang Mai University; Colorado State University; Lund University; University of East Anglia; University of Oldenburg; the Stockholm Resilience Centre; Yale University; the University of Toronto and the Tokyo Institute of Technology. In addition, strong networks on earth system governance research exist in China, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia. New networks are emerging in Africa, India, and many other countries and regions.

Conferences[edit]

Since 2007, several scientific conferences have addressed the topics of governance and global environmental change. These include, but are not limited to:[10]

  • 2007 Amsterdam Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. 'Earth System Governance: Theories and Strategies for Sustainability'
  • 2008 Berlin Conference on the Human Dimension of Global Environmental Change. 'Long-Term Policies: Governing Social-Ecological Change'
  • 2009 7th International Science Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. 'Social Challenges of Global Change'
  • 2009 Amsterdam Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. 'Earth System Governance: People, Places, and the Planet'
  • 2010 Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. 'Social dimensions of environmental change and governance'
  • 2011 Colorado Conference on Earth System Governance. 'Crossing Boundaries and Building Bridges'
  • 2012 Lund Conference on Earth System Governance. 'Towards Just and Legitimate Earth System Governance'
  • 2013 Tokyo Conference on Earth System Governance. 'Complex Architectures, Multiple Agents'
  • 2014 Norwich Conference on Earth System Governance. 'Allocation and Access in the Anthropocene'
  • (Upcoming) 2015 Canberra Conference on Earth System Governance. 'Democracy and Resilience in the Anthropocene'

Publications[edit]

The network of researchers affiliated with the Earth System Governance Project has published numerous reports and books, and has published widely in journals such as International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics; Ecological Economics; Global Environmental Change; Environmental Science & Policy; Global Environmental Politics; and Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.[11][12][13][14][15][16] A related MIT Press Book series is designed to address the research challenge of earth system governance.[17] Additionally, the Project publishes regular Working Papers, which are peer-reviewed online publications that broadly address questions raised by the Project’s Science and Implementation Plan. Several special issues of topics related to earth system governance have been published in scientific journals over the last years.[18]

Academic programs[edit]

Earth system governance as a research object is quickly emerging, and as a consequence, the number of academic programmes on bachelor, master and doctoral level related to earth system governance steadily increases. A number of institutes and universities currently collaborate in a Global Alliance of Earth System Governance Research Centres. The educational programmes these universities offer, include, but are not limited to:[19]

  • Ecosystems, Resilience and Governance, University of Stockholm and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden
  • Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science, LUMES, International Master’s Programme, Lund University, Sweden
  • Environment and Resource Management, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Global Environmental Governance, Specialization track in MSc Political Science, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Lund University Centre of Excellence for Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability, LUCID, Research School, Lund University, Sweden
  • Sustainability Economics and Management, MSc Programme, University of Oldenburg, Germany
  • Environmental Governance related Programmes, MA, MSc, and PhD Programmes, Colorado State University, United States of America
  • Environment and Development Programmes, MSc, MRes, and MBA Programmes, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom

A substantial number of the workshops and other events of the project are so called capacity-building activities. The project also organizes, endorses and provides teaching to summer schools and capacity building events and programs. In addition, members of the Scientific Steering Committee and staff of the International Project Office give guest lectures around the world.

Initiatives[edit]

In 2011, the Earth System Governance Project launched an initiative on International Environmental Governance. This initiative aims to provide a forum for synthesis and discussion of current and ongoing research on international environmental governance and the institutional framework for sustainable development, in the period leading up to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, also known as ‘Rio + 20’.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Biermann, Frank, Michele M. Betsill, Joyeeta Gupta, Norichika Kanie, Louis Lebel, Diana Liverman, Heike Schroeder, and Bernd Siebenhüner, with contributions from Ken Conca, Leila da Costa Ferreira, Bharat Desai, Simon Tay, and Ruben Zondervan. 2009. Earth System Governance: People, Places and the Planet. Science and Implementation Plan of the Earth System Governance Project. Earth System Governance Report 1, IHDP Report 20. Bonn, IHDP: The Earth System Governance Project.
  2. ^ Biermann, Frank, Michele M. Betsill, Joyeeta Gupta, Norichika Kanie, Louis Lebel, Diana Liverman, Heike Schroeder, and Bernd Siebenhüner, with contributions from Ken Conca, Leila da Costa Ferreira, Bharat Desai, Simon Tay, and Ruben Zondervan. 2009. Earth System Governance: People, Places and the Planet. Science and Implementation Plan of the Earth System Governance Project. Earth System Governance Report 1, IHDP Report 20. Bonn, IHDP: The Earth System Governance Project.
  3. ^ [2] Frank Biermann, Michele M. Betsill, Joyeeta Gupta, Norichika Kanie, Louis Lebel, Diana Liverman, Heike Schroeder, Bernd Siebenhüner and Ruben Zondervan. 2010. Earth system governance: a research framework. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law, and Economics. Vol 10. Nr 4.
  4. ^ [3] Biermann, Frank, Michele M. Betsill, Joyeeta Gupta, Norichika Kanie, Louis Lebel, Diana Liverman, Heike Schroeder, and Bernd Siebenhüner, with contributions from Ken Conca, Leila da Costa Ferreira, Bharat Desai, Simon Tay, and Ruben Zondervan. 2009. Earth System Governance: People, Places and the Planet. Science and Implementation Plan of the Earth System Governance Project. Earth System Governance Report 1, IHDP Report 20. Bonn, IHDP: The Earth System Governance Project.
  5. ^ [4], Frank, Michele M. Betsill, Joyeeta Gupta, Norichika Kanie, Louis Lebel, Diana Liverman, Heike Schroeder, and Bernd Siebenhüner, with contributions from Ken Conca, Leila da Costa Ferreira, Bharat Desai, Simon Tay, and Ruben Zondervan. 2009. Earth System Governance: People, Places and the Planet. Science and Implementation Plan of the Earth System Governance Project. Earth System Governance Report 1, IHDP Report 20. Bonn, IHDP: The Earth System Governance Project.
  6. ^ [5]
  7. ^ [6] Biermann, Frank, Michele M. Betsill, Joyeeta Gupta, Norichika Kanie, Louis Lebel, Diana Liverman, Heike Schroeder, and Bernd Siebenhüner, with contributions from Ken Conca, Leila da Costa Ferreira, Bharat Desai, Simon Tay, and Ruben Zondervan. 2009. Earth System Governance: People, Places and the Planet. Science and Implementation Plan of the Earth System Governance Project. Earth System Governance Report 1, IHDP Report 20. Bonn, IHDP: The Earth System Governance Project. p.13
  8. ^ [7] Young, Oran., Heike Schroeder and Leslie A. King (editors). 2008. Institutions and Environmental Change: Principal Findings, Applications, and Research Frontiers. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  9. ^ [8] Biermann, Frank, Michele M. Betsill, Joyeeta Gupta, Norichika Kanie, Louis Lebel, Diana Liverman, Heike Schroeder, and Bernd Siebenhüner, with contributions from Ken Conca, Leila da Costa Ferreira, Bharat Desai, Simon Tay, and Ruben Zondervan. 2009. Earth System Governance: People, Places and the Planet. Science and Implementation Plan of the Earth System Governance Project. Earth System Governance Report 1, IHDP Report 20. Bonn, IHDP: The Earth System Governance Project.
  10. ^ Earth System Governance Project: Events. Website accessed 28 April 2015.
  11. ^ "International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics – incl. option to publish open access". springer.com. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  12. ^ "Ecological Economics | 0921-8009 | Elsevier". www.elsevier.com. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  13. ^ "Global Environmental Change | 0959-3780 | Elsevier". www.elsevier.com. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  14. ^ "Environmental Science & Policy | 1462-9011 | Elsevier". www.elsevier.com. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  15. ^ "An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie". www.mitpressjournals.org. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  16. ^ "Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability - ScienceDirect.com". www.sciencedirect.com. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  17. ^ "ESG / MIT Press book series | Earth System Governance". earthsystemgovernance.org. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Earth System Governance Project: Teaching. Website accessed 29 April 2015.

External links[edit]