2009 Amsterdam Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change

2009 Amsterdam Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change
Amsterdam, 2-4 December 2009

They invite you to the 2009 Amsterdam Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, to be held 2-4 December 2009. This conference will be the ninth event in the series of annual European Conferences on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, begun in Berlin in 2001.

This year's conference will also be the global launch event of the Earth System
Governance Project, a new ten-year research programme under the auspices of the
International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP).

The conference is hosted jointly by the Institute for Environmental Studies at
the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Netherlands Research School for
Socio-economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment (SENSE), in co-operation
with their partner institutions: the European Cooperation in Science and
Technology (COST) Action on Transformation of Global Environmental Governance;
GLOGOV.ORG--The Global Governance Project; the Institute for Global
Environmental Strategies, Japan; the Netherlands Environmental Assessment
Agency; the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; the Stockholm
Resilience Centre; and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Deadline for paper abstracts: 15 May 2009
Notification of acceptance: 15 July 2009
Full papers due: 15 November 2009

The Earth System Governance Project seeks to analyse 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 earth system transformation. The notion of earth system governance describes an emerging social phenomenon - expressed in hundreds of international regimes, bureaucracies, national agencies, activists groups and expert networks - that engages numerous actors, institutions and networks at local and global levels. At the same time, earth system governance is a demanding and vital subject of research in the social sciences, which we hope will be reflected in lively discussions at the 2009 Amsterdam Conference.

The Earth System Governance Project also reflects recent developments within the
Earth System Science Partnership, which unites the World Climate Research
Programme, the International Biosphere-Geosphere Programme, the DIVERSITAS
programme, and the IHDP. The mission statement of the Earth System Science
Partnership calls upon social scientists to develop "strategies for earth system
management". Yet what such strategies might be, and how such strategies are to
be developed, remains poorly understood in the social sciences.

The challenge of earth system governance raises numerous theoretical, methodological and empirical questions, many of which are elaborated upon in
detail in the new Science and Implementation Plan of the IHDP Earth System
Governance Project (earthsystemgovernance.org).

The 2009 Amsterdam Conference is organised around the five core analytical
problems identified in this science plan:

1. Architectures of Earth System Governance. We invite papers on the emergence,
design and effectiveness of governance systems and the overall integration of
global, regional, national and local governance. Core questions include: How is
performance of environmental institutions affected by their embedding in larger
architectures? What are the environmental consequences of non-environmental
governance systems? What is the relative performance of different types of
multilevel governance architectures? How can we explain instances of
'non-governance'? What are overarching and crosscutting norms of earth system
2. Agency in Earth System Governance. We invite papers that advance understanding of the actors and agents that drive earth system governance and
the ways in which authority is granted to them and how it is exercised. They
welcome papers on the influence, roles and responsibilities of both state actors
and non-state actors, such as business and non-profit organisations. Core
questions are: What is agency in earth system governance, and who are the
agents? How do different agents exercise agency in earth system governance, and
how can we evaluate their relevance?
3. Adaptiveness of Earth System Governance. We invite papers on the adaptiveness of earth system governance, a theme that includes here related concepts such as adaptation, adaptive management, resilience, or vulnerability. What are the politics of adaptiveness? Which governance processes foster it? What attributes of governance systems enhance capacities to adapt? How, when and why does adaptiveness influence earth system governance?
4. Accountability and Legitimacy in Earth System Governance. They invite papers on
the accountability and legitimacy of earth system governance. What are the
sources of accountability and legitimacy in earth system governance? What are
the effects of different forms and degrees of accountability and legitimacy for
the performance of governance systems? How can mechanisms of transparency ensure accountable and legitimate earth system governance? What institutional designs can produce the accountability and legitimacy of earth system governance in a way that guarantees balances of interests and perspectives?
5. Allocation and Access in Earth System Governance. Earth system governance is,
as is any political activity, about the distribution of material and immaterial resources and values. It is, in essence, a conflict about the access to goods and about their allocation - it is about justice, fairness, and equity. But how can we reach interdisciplinary conceptualisations and definitions of allocation and access? What (overarching) principles underlie allocation and access? How can allocation be reconciled with governance effectiveness?
6. Theoretical and Methodological Foundations of Earth System Governance.
Finally, they invite papers that cut across these five analytical themes by focussing on the theoretical and methodological foundations of earth system governance. Central crosscutting themes identified in the science plan of the Earth System Governance Project are the roles of power, knowledge, norms, and scale. They also invite papers that analyse the theoretical foundations and implications of new ways of thinking about governance and earth system transformation, including concepts such as global environmental politics, sustainable development, earth system management, or earth system governance, and the extent to which they are related and to which they differ. Moreover, they invite papers that seek to identify and further develop the appropriate methods to study earth system governance, including papers that study options for integrating social science-based work with study programmes grounded in the natural sciences, including computer-based modelling and scenario work.

Abstracts must be submitted electronically by 15 May 2009 and not exceed 450
words. All abstracts will be evaluated in double-blind peer-review by at least
four experts from the conference review panel. Details on abstract submission
and more information are available at our conference website

More information on the IHDP Earth System Governance Project, including its new
Science and Implementation Plan for download, can be found at