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Lecture Series Stockholm+50: Five Decades of Global Sustainability Governance (summer semester 2022)

In the summer semester of 2022, the Center organized a lecture series on global environmental politics at FU Berlin. The series includes renowned guest speakers such as Sherilyn MacGregor (The University of Manchester), Andreas Goldthau (IASS Potsdam and University of Erfurt) and Philipp Pattberg (VU Amsterdam). They each provide an introduction to a key area of global environmental politics – from climate, forestry and ocean politics to topics such as ecofeminism and the role of cities.

The recordings are available on Youtube.

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25 April 2022 - Three Decades of International Climate Change Politics: From Rio de Janeiro to Glasgow

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Miranda A. Schreurs, Chair of Environmental and Climate Policy, Technical University of Munich

Prof. Schreurs offers an insightful overview of the topic: How can we stop the global rise of carbon emissions? And what has been achieved so far? She outlines the failures and successes of the various international agreements that have shaped climate change politics since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. She also defines the key features of today’s forms of governance, and identifies the main climate policy challenges to be faced: fragile democracies, rising populisms, endangered small islands, the Russian war in Ukraine, the on-boarding of developing countries, and climate refugees.

Marquardt, J., & Schreurs, M. (2023). "2: Governing the Climate Crisis: Three Challenges for SDG 13". In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch002

02 May 2022 - Plant a tree and save the world? Changes in governance arrangements since 1992

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Daniela Kleinschmit, Chair of Forest and Policy, University of Freiburg

In her lecture, Prof. Kleinschmit explores how perceptions of forestry in international governance changed over time, which actors and institutions played important roles, and what forestry could look like in the future. A particular focus is on the embedding of Sustainable Development Goal 15 (Life on Land) in international forest governance.

Kleinschmit, D., Blum, M., Brockhaus, M., Karambiri, M., Kröger, M., Ramcilovic-Suominen, S., & Reinecke, S. (2023). "3: Key Logics of International Forest Governance and SDG 15".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch004

08 May 2022 - Protecting life below water: Competing normative, economic, and epistemic orders

Speaker: Assoz. Prof. Dr. Alice Vadrot, principal investigator of the ERC research project MARIPOLDATA, University of Vienna

Prof. Vadrot opens her talk with some background knowledge regarding the state of the ocean. Based on the negotiations on ‘Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ)’ and against the background of SDG 14 (Life below Water), she then discusses the fragmented institutional landscape of ocean governance and identifies challenges and current conflict lines. The audience also gets an insight into her conceptual and empirical approach, which entails a focus on multilateral negotiations as important sites of struggles over environmental knowledge. She concludes her talk with an outlook on some alternative legal and epistemic orders that could underpin ocean sustainability.

Vadrot, A. B. (2023). "4: Protecting Life below Water: Competing Normative, Economic and Epistemic Orders (SDG 14)".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch006

16 May 2022 - Sustainable development and water: Cross-sectoral, transboundary & multi-level governance arrangements

Speaker: Dr. Manuel Fischer, Group Leader Eawag / Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Political Science, University of Bern

Dr. Fischer identifies three main types of challenges to water governance today: cross-sectional, transboundary and multi-level governance challenges. Using striking examples from Switzerland, Ecuador and Bolivia, he highlights the importance of holistic approaches to fresh water management. What are the conflicting interests around fresh water usage? What are the synergies and trade-offs between SDG 6 and other SDGs? Do global goals and transboundary arrangements on fresh water management reach local communities and municipalities? The lecture addresses these and other questions.

Fischer, M., Cisneros, P., Duval, J., Gonzales-Iwanciw, J., & Cordero Ponce, S. (2023). "5: Sustainable Development and Water: Cross-sectoral, Transboundary and Multilevel Governance Arrangements in Bolivia, Ecuador and Switzerland".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch008

23th May 2022 - Water for life and food: synergies between SDGs 6 and 2 and human rights

Speaker: Professor Lyla Mehta, PhD, Professorial Fellow, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex

In this lecture, Prof. Mehta addresses the interconnectedness between SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) within a human rights framework. She explains how dominant approaches fail to recognize linkages between the two goals and outlines the need for a new discourse. The Dublin Principles established the notion of water as an economic good in 1992, while the United Nations recognized the human right to water in 2010. The current discourse fails to combine notions of water as a limited resource with requirements of social justice especially regarding SDG 5 (Gender equality). Against this backdrop, Prof. Mehta talks about the water-food nexus and emphasizes the importance of pro-poor and inclusive water and food governance approaches.

Mehta, L., Ringler, C., & Varghese, S. (2023). "6: Water for Life and Food: Synergies between SDGs 2 and 6 and Human Rights".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch010

30 May 2022 - Clean energy services: Universal access as enabler for development?

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Andreas Goldthau, Director of the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, University of Erfurt

Prof. Goldthau is a leading researcher in global energy transition and energy policy and governance. Starting with a general overview of today’s global energy access situation, Prof. Goldthau highlights the numerous successes as well as the persisting failures of global and national energy governance in their journey to tackle energy access inequalities and injustices, clean energy transitions in developing countries and emerging economies, and the sometimes overlooked (yet central) aspect of clean cooking and its impact on health, economic development, and many other factors. The lecture is then followed by a Q&A session which delves deeper into the problems and challenges of addressing SDG 7, including a discussion on the impacts of the war in Ukraine on energy governance worldwide, as well as a further focus and the trade-offs between sustainability and development in the context of SDG 7.

Dabla, N. E., & Goldthau, A. C. (2023). "8: Clean Energy Services: Universal Access as Enabler for Development?".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch014

13 June 2022 - Partnerships for the goals: Facilitating the biodiversity-climate-governance nexus?

Speakers: Prof. Dr. Philipp Pattberg and Montserrat Koloffon Rosas, both Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The seventh event of the lecture series is dedicated to SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). In the first part of the lecture, Prof. Pattberg outlines the evolution of multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) in the context of global sustainable governance since the 1992 Earth Summit. He discusses the potential of MSPs to help achieve the SDGs through their ability to create synergies between goals, to involve actors beyond governments such as private companies and civil society organizations, and to offer innovative strategies to tackle persistent problems. In the second part, Montserrat Koloffon Rosas presents the research project ‘Transformative Partnerships 2030’. Based on statistical methods, the project team examines the pervasiveness and effectiveness of MSPs. The researchers are particularly interested in how MSPs can act as nexus facilitators in the biodiversity-climate governance landscape. The aim of the project is to make suggestions for improvements in the design of partnerships.

Koloffon Rosas, M., & Pattberg, P. (2023). "13: Partnerships for SDGs: Facilitating a Biodiversity–Climate Nexus?".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch024

20 June 2022 - Economic growth & socio-ecological transformation: Rethinking visions of economy & work under SDG 8

Speaker: Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, PhD, Project Coordinator at Environmental and Energy Systems Studies, Lund University

Ekaterina Chertkovskaya critically examines SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and its targets. She addresses the issue that the pursuit of economic growth is incompatible with environmental sustainability, which remains unnoticed under SDG8. Ms. Chertkovskaya then discusses the understanding of work under SDG 8, arguing that the pursuit of growth makes work unsustainable and unjust. Instead, the need to reorient the economy and work towards a socio-ecological transformation is highlighted. Relatedly, she proposes to transform the whole framework of SDGs into Sustainable Wellbeing Goals (SWGs), articulating the focus on well-being rather than the problematic capitalist and growth-oriented notion of development.

Chertkovskaya, E. (2023). "9: From Economic Growth to Socio-ecological Transformation: Rethinking Visions of Economy and Work under SDG 8".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch016

27 June 2022 - ‘We will not be mainstreamed into a polluted stream’: An ecofeminist critique of SDG 5

Speakers: Prof. Dr. Sherilyn MacGregor and Ursula Mäki, The University of Manchester

Prof. MacGregor critically examines not only SDG 5 (Gender Equality), but the entire sustainability agenda. She first explains the concept of ecofeminism before analyzing SDG 5 through an ecofeminist lens. Prof. MacGregor then illustrates two fundamental problems concerning SDG 5: the adoption of a binary approach to gender and the production-reproduction dualism. Furthermore, the need for transformational changes that are required to address the failure of the current development model rooted in unsustainable production and consumption patterns, exacerbating gender, race and class inequities is highlighted. Feminist groups worldwide are already fighting for these structural changes, which is accredited by Prof. MacGregor at the end of her talk.

MacGregor, S., & Ursula Mäki, A. (2023). "10: ‘We Do Not Want to Be Mainstreamed into a Polluted Stream’: An Ecofeminist Critique of SDG 5".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch018

4 July 2022 - Realizing sustainable consumption and production: Beyond neoliberal governance?

Speaker: Dr. Magnus Bengtsson, expert on sustainability with a focus on public policies related to consumption, production and circular economy, Future Earth

In his talk, Dr. Bengtsson emphasizes the need for change to tackle multiple socio-ecological crises. He argues that the current economic system is no longer “fit for purpose” since it requires over-consumption of limited resources and creates inequalities. He emphasizes the uneven distribution of the share of greenhouse gas emissions between different regions of the world and criticizes the prevailing view that individualizes responsibility for unsustainable consumption and production. After explaining limits of the current focus on efficiency and introducing the rebound effect, he focuses on alternative ways to advance sustainable consumption and production. In this context, he highlights the significance of social movements for a “new economy”.

Lorek, S., Cohen, M., & Alfredsson, E. (2023). "11: Realizing Sustainable Consumption and Production".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch020

11 July 2022 - Cities and the SDGs: A spotlight on urban settlement

Speakers: Dr. Anna Kosovac und Daniel Pejic, Melbourne Centre for Cities, The University of Melbourne

Dr. Anna Kosovac and Daniel Pejic introduce SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). By 2050, 70% of the world’s population is predicted to live in urban settlements. It is no wonder that the United Nations has taken note and is acknowledging cities now more than ever in global frameworks. Efforts to achieve global goals that improve the wellbeing and quality of life of citizens must now recognize their increasingly urban dimensions, a shift which culminated in the development of SDG 11, to ‘make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’. This lecture explores the history of the development of SDG 11 and how this goal evolved from the narrow focus on cities in the Millennium Development Goals. It also analyses the growing role of city governments as transnational actors, working through an ecosystem of city networks to play a significant part in global environmental governance.

Kosovac, A., & Pejic, D. (2023). "12: Cities and the SDGs: A Spotlight on Urban Settlements".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch022

18 July 2022 - The environment in global sustainability governance

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Lena Partzsch, Professor of Comparative Politics with a Focus on Environmental and Climate Politics, Freie Universität Berlin

In the last session of the ‘Stockholm+50’ lecture series, Prof. Partzsch first outlines the conception of the series and then draws a synthesis regarding (1) perceptions of sustainable development, (2) actors and institutions that have most mattered for governance efforts over the last decades, and (3) alternative and innovative forms of governance that exist and deserve more research attention for a transition to environmentally salient sustainability. The lecture series takes account of five decades of global environmental governance since the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. The starting point of the series was Agenda 2030, with which international community agreed on 17 wide-ranging goals.

The first lectures were dedicated to the ‘green goals’: SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 15 (Life on Land), SDG 14 (Life below Water), and SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation). A second part of the series dealt with environmentally relevant SDGs due to their sub-targets, in particular, SDG 7 (Clean and Affordable Energy), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production). Finally, there were two lectures on those SDGs which are environmentally crucial in terms of implementation: SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

Drawing a synthesis, Prof. Partzsch concludes that lecturers agreed that (1) a ‘thinking in silos’ prevails in global sustainability governance. At the same time, throughout all environmental governance subfields, the environment has increasingly been perceived as a global commodity in recent decades. This causes tensions between those who have the means to exploit natural resources and those who do not. (2) Regarding actors and institutions, a fragmented and polycentric institutional landscape has hindered effective governance towards sustainability so far. (3) Finally, Prof. Partzsch outlines how voluntary actions as alternative forms of governance, including city networks and bottom up-civil society initiatives, give hope. She concludes however that global governance reforms are needed towards greater environmental sustainability.

Partzsch, L. (2023). "14: Synthesis: The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance".  In Partzsch L. (ed.) The Environment in Global Sustainability Governance. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529228021.ch026