In the evening of 16 October 2008, the start of the Earth System Governance Project was celebrated at a reception in New Delhi, India. At the reception, the former chair of the IDGEC Project, Prof. Oran Young, presented the first IDGEC-synthesis book Institutions and Environmental Change. Principal Findings, Applications, and Research Frontiers, and Prof. Frank Biermann, chair of the Earth System Governance Scientific Steering Committee, presented the Earth System Governance Science Plan.

Following the launch of the project and the reception, the Earth System Governance Scientific Steering Committee held its first meeting on 17-18 October 2008 in New Delhi, India,