Menu

Governing the Planetary Commons: A Focus on the Amazon

How are the planetary commons to be governed in an ecologically responsible, just, democratic, and resilient way?

Governing the Planetary Commons: A Focus on the Amazon

How are the planetary commons to be governed in an ecologically responsible, just, democratic, and resilient way?

There are increasing calls to recognize Earth’s biophysical systems that provide Earth system resilience and stability as planetary commons. The planetary commons include globally shared geographic regions currently recognized under the global commons, but more importantly, also all biophysical systems that secure critical functions of the Earth system irrespective of national boundaries. Examples are the atmosphere and oceans; tipping elements such as the Amazon Rainforest; and ecosystems such as wetlands.

The planetary commons include globally shared geographic regions currently recognized under the global commons, but more importantly, also all biophysical systems that secure critical functions of the Earth system irrespective of national boundaries.

As a new paradigm for thinking about planetary resilience, the planetary commons must ideally achieve the following: safeguard critical Earth system functions that regulate planetary resilience; create responsibilities and stewardship obligations to safeguard planetary resilience; prevent crossing over into tipping points; and ensure a just world for everyone, now and in the future. While declaring the planetary commons is a first critical step, governing these commons raises many complex and unsettled issues.

As the first of its kind to confront the foregoing complexities, this project aims to answer the overarching question: How are the planetary commons to be governed in an ecologically responsible, just, democratic, and resilient way? While it is broadly concerned with the issue of planetary commons governance, the project focuses specifically on the Amazon Rainforest, a critically important Earth system tipping element that spans nine countries and that is broadly representative of the many complexities that planetary commons governance give rise to.

Sub-questions that arise in the planetary commons governance context of the Amazon include:

  • Which governance models (e.g., nested, democratic, Earth system-focused) are most suitable for the Amazon?
  • What type of shared stewardship obligations arise for Amazonian states as territorial custodians and other states that benefit from a resilient Amazon, and how could the relationships and obligations between these states be governed?
  • How could pluriversal knowledges embedded in Earth system science, law, political science, indigenous knowledge, and art shape visions of planetary commons governance?
  • How could alternative ways of knowing, being, seeing and caring, often expressed through rights of nature, inform governance in ways that dissolve entrenched dualisms while avoiding legacies and practices of (neo-) colonialism and eco-fascism?
PROGRAM CHAIR
PROGRAM CHAIR

Louis J. Kotzé
Faculty of Law, North-West University, South Africa


Louis is a Research Professor of Law at North-West University, South Africa, and a Senior Professorial Fellow in Earth System Law at the University of Lincoln, UK. Co-chair of the Earth System Governance Network’s Scientific Steering Committee, his research spans human rights, socio-ecological justice, and environmental constitutionalism. Louis, an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow, has over 200 publications and led a European Commission Horizon 2020 project on environmental law at Lincoln University. In 2022, he was the Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow in Potsdam. He's also an assistant editor for Earth System Governance journal, a Senior Fellow of its network, and a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law.

VISITOR

How humans, through our social regulatory institutions, consciously, but most often unconsciously, contribute to the deepening planetary crisis instead of addressing it?

EVENTS

February 27-28, 2024

Imagining the International Seabed Authority as a Planetary Institution for the Seabed as a Commons

A joint workshop with Reclaiming Common Wealth and Frederic Hanusch.

Event


February 7th, 2024

Johan Rockström on Planetary Commons
Introducing a new paradigm for safeguarding earth regulation systems in the Anthropocene

Event
Paper


December 11-13, 2023

Workshop 1 | Governing the Planetary Commons: A Deep Dive

Background Paper

Speaker profiles and abstracts

Program


GET INVOLVED

PROGRAMS 2023/24

  • Depolarizing Public Debates

    How can we depolarize public debates on socio-ecological transformations?
    The aim of the program „Depolarizing Public Debates“ is to develop tools for reducing polarization in public discussions about socio-ecological issues, engaging with practitioners from journalism, digital platforms, and civil society.

    Learn more about the Program

  • Conceptions of Human Flourishing

    How does a non-materialist conception of human flourishing inform the reformulation of the SDGs in 2030?
    The program „Conceptions of Human Flourishing” explores how different cultures conceive of human flourishing, how the current materialist approach may limit it, and how to redesign the SDGs with a broader, more inclusive view of what human flourishing means.

    Learn more about the Program

  • Black Feminism and the Polycrisis

    How can we use the unique insights and intersectional methods of Black feminism to respond to the complexities of the contemporary polycrisis?
    The program "Black Feminism and the Polycrisis" aims to offer a novel solution space to interlocking global crises by drawing on intersectional theory and praxis, developing critical arguments about its relationship to Europatriarchal systems of domination, and offering imaginative visions for a better future.

    Learn more about the Program

  • Reclaiming Common Wealth

    What are pathways, processes and institutional designs for the generation and governance of land commons?
    The program "Reclaiming Common Wealth" explores pathways, processes, and institutional designs for the generation and governance of land commons, aiming to address discontents arising from institutional investments in land, assess theories and concepts of property and value, and establish a repository of the law and institutional design of land commons, with a focus on Commons Public Partnerships.

    Learn more about the Program

| stay informed | stay connected

NEWSLETTER

We are in this together – and our newsletter is the best way to connect and be inspired. Competent, constructive, creative. A wealth of insight and guidance in a world in turmoil.

Newsletter

We use cookies to measure how often our site is visited and how it is used. You can withdraw your consent at any time with effect for the future. For further information, please refer to our privacy policy.