Flagship Activities

The Earth System Governance Project is designed as nodal point within the global change research programmes to guide, organize and evaluate research on governance in the various projects, thus strengthening and incorporating governance as a crosscutting theme within the international human dimensions of global environmental change research community.

Hence, to implement the Science Plan, it seems useful to focus empirical research on a number of case study areas in which the investigation of the five A’s—the analytical problems of architecture, agency, adaptiveness, accountability, and allocation and access—will stand at the centre. This will mirror the successful programme on ‘flagship activities’ within IDGEC and other IHDP projects, and it will at the same time be linked with joint ESSP projects to ensure the crosscutting nature of the Earth System Governance Project.

As one example, the Earth System Governance Project will collaborate with the ESSP Global Water System Project in studying the problems of architecture, agency, adaptiveness, accountability, and allocation and access with the example of local, national or global water regimes. A second flagship activity will be climate and energy policy, in cooperation with the ESSP Global Carbon Project. A third flagship activity will be the study of governance of food production and distribution, in collaboration with the Global Environmental Change and Food Systems Project, another joint project of the Earth System Science Partnership.

Additional flagships activities will be explored, for example with the research programmes Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone Project and the Global Land Project. Crosscutting research and the engagement of other projects as flagship activities is no one-way street. On the contrary: research findings on one of the five analytical problems of the Earth System Governance Project, derived in one of the other global change projects, will be interesting also for all other global change projects dealing with similar problems. For example, research on allocation and access conducted in the areas of water governance, food governance, or global economic governance, will be specific to their particular cases, yet will also yield new general insights useful for progress in the social sciences as a whole.