Divergent values in sustainability assessments: love them, leave them, or change them?

September 16, 2019 - September 18, 2019
Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change

Torgauer Strasse 12-15
Berlin 10829



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Call for papers for Conference: ‘Divergent values in sustainability assessments: love them, leave them, or change them’?

Dates: Sept. 16-18, 2019, Berlin, Germany.



Conference description:

This interdisciplinary conference is about novel approaches to legitimacy at the science-policy interface in light of divergent normative viewpoints. What would a legitimate assessment of the desirability of alternative sustainability futures look like? A particular focus is on deliberative approaches to ethical issues.

Conflicting values are increasingly understood to be a considerable challenge for sustainability governance in general and integrated assessment processes in particular. But how can international (e.g., IPCC, IPBES, etc.) or domestic science-policy interfaces explicitly consider divergent normative viewpoints, including, e.g., different interests, ethical principles, different framings of sustainability, as well as the various policy goals underlying climate change mitigation, biodiversity protection and sustainable development?

This conference will explore the prospects and the limitations of more recent innovations and promising approaches to divergent normative viewpoints. The goal is to jointly discuss and develop novel responses that meet the crucial, though ambiguous, criterion of liberal-democratic legitimacy (excluding, e.g., dogmatic or authoritarian approaches), without falling into cynism or fatalism regarding conflicting values in sustainability governance.

Collaboration across disciplines appears to be absolutely essential here. This conference envisages a novel interdisciplinary and practically-informative evaluation of alternative approaches. It brings together philosophy, economics, social-science and integrated assessment communities. This might inform future integrated assessment processes (such as by the IPCC, IPBES or UN Environment), but also inspire critical-constructive research about the value-laden science-policy interface. The conference nurtures the hope that liberal democracies can successfully respond to conflicting values as a major obstacle to environmental governance.

Keynote speakers:

  • Prof. Dr. Henry Shue, Merton College, Oxford University
  • Prof. Dr. Simon Niemeyer, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra
  • Prof. Dr. Matthew Adler, Duke University, founding director of the Duke Center for Law, Economics and Public Policy
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Dietz, Distinguished Professor at the Michigan State University, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Saner, Chair of the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, University of Ottawa

How to Participate:

Please register via email to event@mcc-berlin.net by June 30th, 2019. A confirmation or decline email will be sent to you within 3 days depending on room capacity (we envisage about 40 to 50 participants).

Some slots for presentations are still available. We welcome paper proposals in terms of abstract submissions (300-500 words) – e.g., case studies or other empirical studies, novel theoretical work, practical experiences, etc. – by April 30th, 2019 via email to Martin Kowarsch kowarsch@mcc-berlin.net).

The selection process will be finalised by mid-May 2019 and all candidates will be informed about the result.

For further information, please contact Martin Kowarsch (email: kowarsch@mcc-berlin.net).

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June 30, 2019, 12:00am CET

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