Research Centre Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Earth System Governance Research Center is committed to contribute to the implementation of the Earth System Governance Project as part of the global alliance of Earth System Governance Research Centres and brings social scientists working on earth system governance together. 

It consists of the Environment Policy Analysis (EPA) Department of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) of the VU University Amsterdam, and the Governance and Inclusive Development (GID) programme group in the Faculty of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies of the University of Amsterdam.

The Department of Environmental Policy Analysis is a vibrant international group of around 35 researchers, faculty members and PhD students within the university's Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), the oldest environmental research institute in the Netherlands.

The group shares an interest in analysing policies, institutions and governance mechanisms in the field of sustainable development, and in exploring new forms of governance that better secure a transition to sustainable production and consumption. A defining characteristic of the department is a high degree of multidisciplinarity within the social sciences that brings together experts from international relations, law, management studies, philosophy and religion, political science, policy studies, public administration, and psychology. The department is also characterised by a successful combination of high-quality fundamental research in long-term research projects, with practical relevance and policy advice to decision-makers, as well as by a strong integration into European and international networks. In the 2007 national research evaluation 'Environmental Sciences', the group was evaluated as the top department in the Netherlands in the field of 'environmental economics, sociology and policy', and 'internationally at the forefront'.

Within the Earth System Governance Project, the Department of Environmental Policy Analysis at IVM plans to contribute research on all five Analytical Themes identified in the Science and Implementation Plan of the Earth System Governance Project, with particular emphasis on the analytical themes of Architecture; Agency; and Adaptiveness. Regarding the four Flagships Activities of the Earth System Governance Project, we have a large number of research projects that focus on climate governance, food governance, and water governance.

The GID/UVA, a programme group consisting of a core staff of 12 and about 20 PhD students, focuses on transformations in political, social, cultural and economic landscapes in the context of processes of uneven development, globalisation and the risks of overuse of environmental resources, pollution of environmental resources and the ensuing global change problems they cause. This underpins the need for rethinking the governance of development capacities in developing countries (or countries in the global South) and also the need to focus on production and consumption patterns in the developed world that have externalities that reverberate in developing countries. Countries in the global South play an increasingly important role in international discussions on development, putting forward their own perspectives and claims.

GID's aim is to gain deeper insight into the ways in which governance processes influence the capabilities actors have at various scale levels, as well as how actors and institutions influence the architecture of governance of transformation processes within countries, urban and rural localities and globalising networks. The focus falls on issues of socio-economic inequality and issues of access and allocation (e.g. poverty), space and place, scaling of governance, the dynamics of governance networks, institutions, regimes and livelihoods and the impact of interventions aiming at so-called ‘resilient development' and adaptive governance.

The programme group focuses on three strategic areas: (a) the governance of natural resources and well-being; (b) urban governance and resilient development; and (c) governance of resources for human development (education, knowledge, rights and social justice). The mission of the programme group is to promote research on governance issues from the perspective of the global South, and to provide a better inter-disciplinary understanding of how processes of governance can deal with inequalities and poverty issues at both differing and linking scale levels.

Upcoming Events

09-12-2015 - 12-12-2015 Earth System Governance Summer School at the University of Canberra

Summer School to precede the 6th Annual Earth System Governance Conference, co-hosted by the Australian National University and the University of Canberra.

Canberra, Australia


Dr. Mairon G. Bastos Lima, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Prof. Frank Biermann, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Lund University, Sweden
Andrea C. Brock, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Svetlana Frenova, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Prof. Joyeeta Gupta, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, and University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Dr. Agni Kalfagianni, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Dr. Ayşem Mert, KHK/Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Prof. Philipp Pattberg, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Prof. Arthur Petersen, VU University Amsterdam; and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Netherlands
Carole-Anne Sénit, VU University Amsterdam and IDDRI-Sciences Po, The Netherlands