For decades, the economic costs and, more recently, the potential economic benefits of environmental change and governance have been at the centre of national and international public policy and academic debates. Yet, the socio-economic causes and impacts of global environmental change and the inadequacy of policies addressing them have remained at the margins of academic research and in related global policy arenas.
While their relevance has been emphasized and reaffirmed in the Brundtland Report, Agenda 21, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, they remained but fringe issues in a predominantly growth-oriented and market-liberal global discourse. Pertinent policies neither delivered real changes nor did they redirect the thrust of academic debates.
This year’s Berlin conference seeks to move the social dimensions of environmental change and governance to the foreground, as societies both in industrialized countries and in developing countries face potentially dramatic environmental changes and will have to undergo fundamental transformations to achieve sustainable development.
The conference aims at bringing together scientists from different social science disciplines that are addressing social dimensions of environmental change and governance in their research. With this debate it is not only intended to advance the research on Global Change. Results shall also be introduced into the political process and will be made available for the public via internet and publications.