Utrecht Workshop Launches Taskforce

On the 8th-9th of March 2018, Utrecht University hosted a workshop on Planetary Justice. The workshop brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars who will form the Steering Group of the Taskforce. The two days offered a forum for sharing perspectives, gathering ideas and discussing key questions and challenges to address and build foundations for the future of the Taskforce.

The workshop began with an opening from hosts, Frank Biermann and Agni Kalfagianni. They shared an introduction to the ideas behind forming the taskforce – the pressing need to explore concerns of justice in the context of the Anthropocene and current Earth System transformations in a scientific and empirically grounded way. The introduction also elaborated on relevant contextual aspects in Utrecht, such as the ‘Institutions for Open Societies’ and ‘Sustainability’ strategic themes of the university, and the choice of the phrase ‘planetary justice’ and its links to planetary boundaries and transformations as well as key discussions about equity in environmental governance.

Agni Kalfagianni introduced a research framework for studying planetary justice that she and Frank have been working on as one way to begin to analytically engage with normative questions of justice.

The workshop included paper presentations from Brendan Coolsaet, Elizabeth Dirth, Dimitris Stevis, Mizan Khan, Michelle Scobie, Aarti Gupta, Sonja Klinsky and Marcus Duwell. Discussions continued following these presentations about key themes and areas for future work.

Planning for the inclusive and collaborative development of the Taskforce was also a key theme of the two days, with initial exercises on defining the aim, identifying key areas for a work plan, and ideas for concrete outputs and deliverables. This work will be continued during the taskforce day at the Earth System Governance Project Conference in Utrecht in November 2018.

The workshop marked an exciting moment for beginning this new initiative.