The Earth System Governance Science and Implementation Plan sets out the agenda for the next decade of earth system governance research.

It has been developed in the New Directions Initiative by the research community and provides an overview of environmental, economic, social and political trends that define the context of the next generation of earth system governance research.

Earth system governance is defined in this project as 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, in particular, earth system transformation, within the normative context of sustainable development.

Based on this general notion, the Earth System Governance Project advances a science plan that is organized, around five research lenses and four contextual conditions.



The 2018 Science Plan

Earth System Governance Project. 2018. Earth System Governance. Science and Implementation Plan of the Earth System Governance Project. Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Coordinating Lead Authors: Sarah Burch, Aarti Gupta, Cristina Yumie Aoki Inoue, Agni Kalfagianni, Åsa Persson

Lead Authors: Andrea K. Gerlak, Atsushi Ishii, James Patterson, Jonathan Pickering, Michelle Scobie, Jeroen van der Heijden, Joost Vervoort

Contributing Authors: Carolina Adler, Michael John Bloomfield, Riyanti Djalante, John S. Dryzek, Victor Galaz, Christopher Gordon, Renée Harmon, Sikina Jinnah, Rakhyun E. Kim, Lennart Olsson, Judith van Leeuwen, Vasna Ramasar, Paul Wapner, Ruben Zondervan

See also a summary in the Earth System Governance Journal


The 2009 – 2018 Science Plan:

→ Download 2009 Science Plan – (English, Japanese, and Spanish)

Biermann, Frank, Michele M. Betsill, Joyeeta Gupta, Norichika Kanie, Louis Lebel, Diana Liverman, Heike Schroeder, and Bernd Siebenhüner, with contributions from Ken Conca, Leila da Costa Ferreira, Bharat Desai, Simon Tay, and Ruben Zondervan. 2009. Earth System Governance: People, Places and the Planet. Science and Implementation Plan of the Earth System Governance Project. Earth System Governance Report 1, IHDP Report 20. Bonn, IHDP: The Earth System Governance Project.