Special Taskforce and Meeting Day

Thursday 8 November 2018

Separate registration required. Registration fee: €50,00 (meeting space, coffee/tea and lunch included). In order to complete your registration, please pay the registration fee using this link.

Online registration for the Taskforce Day is now closed. Please register for meetings at the conference registration desk (subject to availability).

Location: Utrecht Science Park (De Uithof). Meetings rooms and directions are specified below.

Taskforce and Meeting Day Schedule

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UC2018_Taskforce Day Directions

About the Taskforce and Meeting Day

We welcome all conference participants to participate in the Special Taskforce and Meeting Day on Thursday the 8th of November. This day is reserved for taskforces, harvesting initiatives, and similar working groups of the Earth System Governance Project to find collective space to advance writing projects, plan new events, and shape the research and outreach agenda in the numerous subfields of the Earth System Governance Project.

It is possible to attend more than one meeting, depending on the Taskforce and Meeting Day schedule (below). Meetings are scheduled in either Session 1 (11:00 – 13:00), Session 2 (14:00 – 18:00), or Session 3 (11:00 – 18:00, note: you will not be able to join Session 1 or 2). Please note that some meetings are by invitation only.

For questions about the overall organisation of the Special Taskforce and Meeting Day please contact Marie Claire Brisbois (m.c.g.brisbois@uu.nl). For questions about specific meetings please contact the meeting convener(s) directly (contact details below)

Opening Plenary: Earth System Governance: Science – Policy – Society

Co-hosted by Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future

Time: 09:00 – 10:30
Location: Ruppert Blauw (Utrecht Science Park)

“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”(Earth System Governance Science and Implementation Plan, 2009).

Over the past decade, the Earth System Governance Project has initiated and fostered a vast amount of scientific knowledge relevant to policy making and addressing societal challenges. This knowledge has been inserted in policy making through various channels including scientific assessments, policy briefs, collaboration with boundary organisations, scientific advisory at intergovernmental negotiations, and by boots on the ground lobbying and networking.

Through the Governance for Global Sustainability Partnership with Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, the Project has recently strengthened its capacity in the interaction with policy processes and importantly, with other societal stakeholders. The latter is increasingly becoming important in addressing through co-development of knowledge, the challenges of governance in theAnthropocene.

In a conversation format, panelists will elaborate on their experiences in = different formats of science-policy and science-society interactions, and reflect on the role and added value of research alliances like Earth System Governance in “assisting policy responses”. They  will also touch on the practical challenges, and look ahead towards innovative, more effective interactions in the nexus of society, science, and policy.


(1) Agency in Earth System Governance – Harvest Initiative (invitation only)

This will be a closed work session for authors involved in producing an edited volume detailing findings from the first ten years of research on the theme of agency in ESG. Based on analysis of more than 300 articles published in the period 2008-2016, the volume will document how this area of research has developed in terms of theories and methods; issues and geographies; key questions; types of actors; and links to other ESG analytical problems and cross-cutting themes.

Meeting convener: Prof. Michele Betsill (m.betsill@colostate.edu)

(2) Cluster and working group ideas and developments of the Task Force Ocean Governance

This meeting will discuss cluster and working group ideas and developments within the newly set up Ocean Governance Task Force. The Task Force started with defining cluster topics and soliciting members as well as a website. We would like to discuss with cluster leads and active members how the taskforce can facilitate, connect, seek funding as well as develop concrete topics or ideas for collaboration. Cluster leads are especially invited to come to this meeting, but the meetings is open for all members that have an interest and want to become active within this Task Force. In the afternoon we would like to give clusters the opportunity to meet. At least one cluster is interested in doing so. This is the Blue Economy Cluster which would like to discuss how ESG research can contribute to a sustainable and equitable Blue Economy. During the meeting we would like to formulate some key research insights and questions that will guide the further development of collaborative activities under this cluster.

Meeting convenor: Dr Judith van Leeuwen (judith.vanleeuwen@wur.nl)

(3) Earth System Law – Standing at the precipice of the Anthropocene

We are working on an edited volume on the concept of Earth System Law. The book will offer a unique opportunity to explore and interrogate emergent Earth System Law where the Earth system is the new focal point, using an Earth-centered perception in terms of law, science and ethics. Earth Systems Law departs from the premise that humans are separate from nature to one recognizing humans as part of, or one species among many, yet a unique one with the ability to intentionally shape the Earth system. Building on the work of Earth Systems Governance, Earth System Law reflects the fact that law is one social institution, of arguable durable quality as a formal institution that plays an increasingly important role in solving pressing problems in the governance of the earth system from the local to the global. This book will set the groundwork of Earth System Law to ensure sustainable development of the coupled socio-ecological system that the Earth has become.

This meeting is open to those interested to contribute to the book. Please contact the meeting organizer Dr Rak Kim (r.kim@uu.nl)

(4) Ecological Democracy Working Group

This meeting will take stock of the working group’s progress so far and chart new directions for its work over the coming years, particularly in light of the theme of ‘democracy and power’ in the new ESG Science Plan. A priority for the meeting will be to map how research on ecological democracy connects to a broader range of themes in Earth system governance research – including transparency, accountability, legitimacy, participation, inclusion, representation, deliberation, social movements and beyond – and identify opportunities for greater dialogue across these areas. For this reason, we welcome conference participants who may not be working directly on ecological democracy but have an interest in this broader set of themes.

Meeting convener: Dr Jonathan Pickering (jonathan.pickering@canberra.edu.au) and Prof. Karin Bäckstrand (karin.backstrand@statsvet.su.se)

(5) Green economy and just transitions

The idea of a ‘just transition’ has become an important factor in models and discourses of a green economy. It makes explicit the centrality of social equity and fairness, human well-being, and inclusive and participatory forms of governance in transitions to a (decoupled) political economy that is low carbon, resource efficient and environmentally sustainable. These special sessions will explore how ESG scholars have sought to understand and explain what makes such a green economy transition ‘just’ in both process and outcome, and whether such transitions are or should be fundamentally transformative.

Meeting convener: Prof. Lorraine Elliott (Lorraine.elliott@anu.edu.au)

(6) Meeting of the Adaptiveness Harvesting Initiative

The Adaptiveness Harvesting Initiative seeks to bring together scholars and their research results addressing questions of Adaptiveness as formulated in the ESG Science Plan. A central product in the form of an edited volume is under preparation and will be at the centre of the meeting. We would like to discuss submitted articles and remaining gaps, as well as future tasks and timelines.

Meeting conveners: Prof. Bernd Siebenhuener (bernd.siebenhuener@uni-oldenburg.de) and Dr Riyanti Djalante (djalante@ehs.unu.edu)

(7) New technologies in the Anthropocene

Technologies’ dual nature as causes of and responses to environmental damage becomes more evident with the rise of the Anthropocene concept. Although our impacts on Earth systems – such as climate change – have thus far been largely unintentional, some emerging technologies will enable us to do so intentionally, perhaps even in order to facilitate sustainability. Large-scale interventions in Earth systems to remove greenhouse gases are now part of mainstream climate scenarios. Slightly reducing incoming sunlight to counteract climate change, through solar geoengineering, is steadily moving from the fringe toward the center of scale discourses. And new biotechnologies, such as CRISPR-powered gene drives, might allow the intentional local eradication of invasive species or disease vectors. These technologies will fundamentally change how we interact with Earth systems and, by extension, how we govern these relations. This raises numerous challenging questions. Who will benefit, and who might lose out? Who is included in decision making, and who is presently absent? Are new institutions, rules, and norms needed, or can extant ones adapt to legitimately govern Anthropocenic technologies?

If you are interested in pursuing these or related questions within the ESG network, please join this meeting. Possible actions include establishing an ESG task force on New technologies in the Anthropocene.

Meeting convener: Dr Jesse Reynolds (reynolds@law.ucla.edu).

(8) Open Space session to take stock of ten years of earth system governance – cancelled

(9) Planetary Justice Taskforce and Steering Group Meeting

Session 1, Taskforce Meeting (open for all): As a new Taskforce and an emerging field, the Planetary Justice Taskforce would like to offer a creative (and entertaining) format for introducing each other and our work. We aim to inclusively and collaboratively collect contributions for the development of the Taskforce and its future activities. We anticipate that this meeting will offer opportunities for continuing conversations which may have started at various stages of the conference.

Session 2, Steering Group Meeting (on invitation only): Some members of the Planetary Justice Taskforce steering group are working on a special issue which is a joint-initiative publication of the taskforce. This began in a workshop hosted by Utrecht University in March 2018, and at this stage we expect to be finalizing papers and offering feedback on near-final texts. This session is specifically for those working on the special issue.

Meeting conveners: Dr Agni Kalfagianni, Prof. Frank Biermann, Elizabeth Dirth

Contact: Elizabeth Dirth (e.p.dirth@uu.nl)

(10) Resilience Meeting – cancelled

(11) Stocktaking Accountability in Global Environmental Governance

This workshop welcomes papers that examine all aspects of accountability in global environmental governance: conceptual, theoretical and empirical and covering all environmental issues and actors. All papers presented will be given two discussants for feedback and all presenters must be willing to provide written comment on another presenters work. The workshop will be limited to 15 paper presentations. These can be work in progress but full papers must be ready to circulate three weeks prior to the workshop. Participation of observers (without paper presentation) is also welcome.

Meeting conveners: Dr Susan Park (susan.park@sydney.edu.au) and Dr Teresa Kramarz (teresa.kramarz@utoronto.ca)

(12) The Urban Futures Game Jam: Game co-design for sustainable city governance

This interactive game design event, a ‘game jam’, will use live game design to investigate transformative futures at the city level. The game jam will bring together conference participants with Utrecht-based game designers and students, game design educators and researchers from Utrecht University and the Utrecht School of Arts, participants from start-up collective the Dutch Game Garden, as well as city-level policy makers, entrepreneurs and civil society initiatives. We aim to use this game jam to 1) create game prototypes that can be used to imagine and experiment with sustainable city governance which in turn lead to 2) a set of governance ideas and proposals, with Utrecht as a case study in an SDG context. The results will be a number of game prototypes focused on new governance ideas for the city of Utrecht in the context of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – since Utrecht is a leader in city-level SDG action. This game jam builds on highly successful events at previous ESG conferences in Canberra and Nairobi.

Meeting conveners: Dr Joost Vervoort, Astrid Mangnus, Dr Peter Pelzer, Dr Jesse Hoffmann, Micah Hrehovcsik, Niels Keetels, Prof. Maarten Hajer

Contact: Dr Joost Vervoort (j.m.vervoort@uu.nl)

(13) Transformations and Transitions in Earth System Governance (on invitation only)  cancelled

The focus of this meeting is to bring together a small group of invited participants to synthesise insights from the series of workshops and panels that the working group and others have held within the Earth System Governance community over the last few years. Our aim is to write a short piece for publication summarising our thinking to date on transformations / transitions and connecting with the New Directions Science Plan.

Meeting conveners: Prof. Chris Riedy (christopher.riedy@uts.edu.au) and Dr James Patterson (james.patterson@vu.nl)

(14) ESGRREW meeting: Where Law meets Justice: Key Challenges and Perspectives for the Environment – cancelled

(15) Science and knowledge in earth system governance

Science and knowledge are both contested and ubiquitous elements of global environmental politics. Increasingly, scholars of environmental governance turn their attention to the role of scientific institutions and different types of knowledge in governance for sustainable development. At the same time, many members of the research community are actively engaged at the science-policy interface, for example as lead authors in global environmental assessments or advisors in international policy bodies. This meeting aims to bring both perspectives together and explore questions such as: What are new modes practicing and institutionalizing expertise in environmental governance? How can we deal with structural imbalances in knowledge and the dominance of certain forms of knowledge over others? How can we engage more reflexively with the production and use of knowledge in governance for sustainable development?

If you are interested in pursuing these or related questions, either (or both) as someone studying the role of knowledge/science in global environmental politics or working at the science-policy interface, please join this meeting. Possible actions include establishing a taskforce on science and knowledge as part of the Earth System Governance project.

Meeting conveners: Ruben Zondervan (ruben.zondervan@esg.lu.se), Dr Alejandro Esguerra (a.esguerra@fu-berlin.de) and Sandra van der Hel (s.c.vanderhel@uu.nl)

(16) innovation in teaching: How can teaching support the new ESG 10-year science plan? – cancelled

(17) Intersections of securitisation and global environmental governance – cancelled

(18) Access and Allocation – Harvest Initiative (by invitation only) – cancelled

(19) Anthropocene Taskforce meeting 

This meeting is open to all ESG colleagues interested in advancing the Anthropocene research agenda. We will take stock of recent and upcoming papers, book projects and events and discuss future avenues for collaboration.

Meeting convener: Dr Eva Lövbrand (eva.lovbrand@liu.se)