Rio+20 Policy Brief: Transforming governance and institutions for a planet under pressure

Revitalizing the institutional framework for global sustainability: Key Insights from social science research

The Earth System Governance Project is glad to release its new comprehensive Policy Brief Transforming Governance and Institutions for a Planet under PressureRevitalizing the Institutional Framework for Global Sustainability.

The Policy Brief offers a concise, cutting-edge assessment of the state of knowledge on the institutional framework for sustainable development and on possible reform options. It brings together various strands of research and schools of thought and will serve as key input of the scientific community in this field to the current preparations for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+20”).

This Policy Brief is one of nine policy briefs by the scientific community that were commissioned by the four global change research programmes (IHDP, IGBP, Diversitas and WCRP) as organisers of the international conference Planet under Pressure: New Knowledge Towards Solutions, which will be held 26-29 March 2012 in London (

Transforming Governance and Institutions for a Planet under Pressure has been written between April and September 2011 by a select international group of 31 leading senior governance experts from all over the world [list of authors], led by Prof. Frank Biermann, chair of the Earth System Governance Project.

Drafts of the Brief were presented and discussed in detail at various occasions with a wide range of scholars and practitioners, notably at the 2011 Colorado Conference on Earth System Governance. Draft versions have also been shared for comments with key policy-makers, the Science Committees of the four Global Change Research Programmes, and other stakeholders. [more information on the process]

A longer version of the assessment with a full list of references to the underlying scholarly literature will appear in an academic journal to be published at the Planet under Pressure Conference, as well as an Earth System Governance Working Paper. All versions, as well as some underlying documentation, are being made available at The core insights will also be presented at key international events, such as the intergovernmental preparatory meetings for the Rio+20 Conference and the series of regional consultations by ICSU.

This Policy Brief is a key product of the Earth System Governance Project’s initiative on the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development and International Environmental Governance, contributing to the preparations of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) – Follow the initiative on FacebookLinkedIn, or Twitter, for frequent news and information.

For questions and further information regarding the Policy Brief contact the assessment managers Andrea Brock, VU University Amsterdam ([email protected]) or Ruben Zondervan, Earth System Governance International Project Office ([email protected]).

To download the policy brief click here.

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