The 2010 Berlin Conference will be the 10th conference in the well established series of European Conferences on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. This year’s conference will adress the “Social dimensions of environmental change and governance”.

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.

Therefore, much remains to be done to bridge the gap between ongoing efforts to conceptualize, analyze and measure the social dimensions of environmental change, policies and governance structures, on the one hand, and the corresponding efforts in mainstream economic analysis. Yet, the social dimensions must no longer be overlooked 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.

This year’s Berlin Conference aims at bringing together scientists from different social science disciplines that are addressing social dimensions of environmental change and governance in their research.


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