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Taskforce on the Sustainable Development Goals


The Earth System Governance ‘Taskforce on the Sustainable Development Goals’ brings together an interdisciplinary global group of scholars and practitioners to advance the scientific understanding of ‘governance by global goals’ and in particular the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Taskforce aims to build, invigorate and lead a diverse research community by providing an open forum for developing and exchanging cutting-edge research and policy studies on to what extent and under what conditions governance through goals can be effective. The Taskforce covers, but is not limited to, the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals on five thematic issues: implementation of global goals over time and at different scales; institutional integration and policy coherence through global goal setting; inclusiveness in goal setting and implementation; effectiveness of protecting planetary integrity through global goals; and methodological challenges and opportunities of studying these questions. All Earth System Governance fellows, at all career stages, are invited to join this Taskforce to jointly study the Sustainable Development Goals and their steering effects on the governance of sustainability challenges.

Practically, the Taskforce facilitates dialogue and exchange through an interactive website, a  webinar series, interdisciplinary workshops and panels on thematic issues at Earth System Governance conferences and other venues, along with public statements at major political events and joint publications that will include special issues of high-impact scientific journals and edited volumes with major university presses.

The Taskforce was launched at an Earth System Governance Speaker Series webinar in April 2021 and will have its first full meeting at the Taskforce and Meeting Day of the Earth System Governance Conference in September 2021 in Bratislava. It builds on an established network of leading scholars engaged in the study and practice of the Sustainable Development Goals, following the organization of the so far largest international research conference on the Sustainable Development Goals at Utrecht University in June 2020 and the edition of the SDG Impact Assessment that will be released in early 2022 as part of the Earth System Governance book series with Cambridge University Press.

For more information about joining the Taskforce, please contact the taskforce convenors by e-mailing

Taskforce Convenors

  • Frank Biermann, co-editor of the 2022 SDG Impact Assessment, and Utrecht University
  • Thomas Hickmann, co-editor of the 2022 SDG Impact Assessment, and Utrecht University
  • Carole-Anne Sénit, co-editor of the 2022 SDG Impact Assessment, and Utrecht University
  • Yixian Sun, contributing author of the SDG Impact Assessment, University of Bath


Scientific Steering Group

The scientific steering group of the Taskforce draws on the network of scholars that compiled the SDG Impact Assessment.

  • Andrea Ordoñez Llanos, Southern Voice, Ecuador
  • Debapriya Bhattacharya, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh
  • Detlef van Vuuren, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Netherlands
  • Imme Scholz, German Development Institute, Germany
  • John Thompson, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
  • John Thwaites, Monash University, Australia
  • Prof. Dr. Lena Partzsch, Freiburg University, Germany
  • Louis Kotzé, North-West University, South Africa
  • Måns Nilsson, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden
  • Marianne Beisheim, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Germany
  • Michelle Scobie, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Pamela Chasek, Manhattan College, United States
  • Rob Raven, Monash University, Australia
  • Sébastien Treyer, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, France
  • Steven Bernstein, University of Toronto, Canada



  • Alexandre San Martim Portes, Australian National University, Australia
  • Cordula Ott, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Elena Esther, Cirkovic. Helsinki University, Finland
  • Frederik Dahlmann, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
  • Jan Kunnas, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Lauren Rickards, RMIT Centre for Urban Research Melbourne, Australia
  • Maya Bogers, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Melanie van Driel, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Nafiseh Jafarzadeh, National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington, DC, United States
  • Ronju Ahammad, Charles Darwin University, Australia
  • Asa Persson, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden
  • Aurelie Charles, University of Bath, United Kingdom
  • Debdas Ray, Asutosh College Kolkata, India
  • Marjanneke Vijge, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Okechukwu Enechi, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Shirin Malek Pour, Monash University, Australia
  • Somya Joshi Senior, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden
  • Timothy A. A. Balag’kutu, INRSD, Ghana

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