Special  Events

Designing a deliberative event on water policy

Rod Marsh, marsh.eco 

Tue 11 February 2020

11:00am - 12:30pm

Room 22B14, Building 22, University of Canberra

An independent national policy Centre is being formed, backed by philanthropic contributions, that will adopt deliberative approaches to engage community and stakeholders to inform decision making in the critical and increasingly difficult water policy arena. A pilot project is being developed for 2020 focusing on the Goulburn River in Victoria where a deadlock is preventing environmental water holders from reconnecting rivers to the floodplain. The issue incorporates a complex of interests, where reconnecting the river and floodplain affects wetlands and forests, the productivity of river systems and agriculture, grazing, timber production, fishing, tourism and other recreational industries. Infrastructure changes associated with reconnecting the river to the floodplain also reduce risks to regional communities from small floods.


The Commonwealth has funds available to assist in reconnecting rivers and floodplains—as well as compensate affected landowners and help them harden infrastructure like roads and bridges— but the perceived risks associated with periodic managed flooding of private land have prevented implementation. The deadlock could be addressed by a well-designed deliberative process, facilitating the release of Commonwealth funding and delivering substantial environmental benefits. Achieving a successful outcome in the Goulburn, would demonstrate the benefit of adopting a deliberative model to replicate the process elsewhere in the Basin and more widely for water policy issues around Australia. The event will involve crowdsourcing deliberative design, incorporating students and scholars visiting the University of the Deliberative Democracy Summer School and a wider community of interest. Following a presentation on the issues, a panel will briefly address the design question, followed by discussion and input from the audience.


About the Speaker

Principal marsh.eco Rod Marsh is assisting The Ian Potter Foundation and The Myer Foundation with the design and implementation of the new policy centre.



Darren Sinclair (IGPA, UC)

Jacki Schirmer (Centre for Applied Ecology, UC)

Marina Lindell (Pol. Science, Åbo Akademi)

Book Harvest 2020

Tue 4 February 2020

6:00pm - 7:00pm

Bolt Bar, 68 Bandjalong Crescent, Aranda ACT 2614

You are invited to the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance’s first Book Harvest on 4 February, Tuesday in Bolt Bar (Aranda). It’s an informal event to celebrate the publication of 8 books in 2 years by our Centre staff members. We will start serving prosecco at 6pm, and short speeches at 6:30pm. 

More details about the books here.

Can we design a directly representative democracy?

Tue 26 November 2019

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra

This roundtable, which is jointly sponsored by the Centre for Change Governance will discuss the work of Michael Neblo. There will be 3 brief presentations: Molly Scudder will offer critical appreciation of Neblo's work; John Dryzek will talk about a project to replicate aspects of Neblo's work in Australia; and Henrik Bang will discuss the Democracy House initiative in Denmark, which has similarities to,but also significant differences from Neblo's work.

Please read Neblo's article here.

Using Participedia for democracy research: A roundtable discussion

Tue 20 August 2019

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra

Participedia is an open-source collaborative platform designed to identify, document, and learn from the new forms and experiments of participatory and deliberative politics and governance throughout the world. The resulting catalogue provides rich information to the scholars and practitioners of democracy about different ways of involving citizens in politics.


This roundtable will bring together scholars who use Participedia as a qualitative or quantitative data repository for the purposes of advancing knowledge about democratic innovations and deliberative forms of citizen engagement across the world. It will showcase different research projects, discuss their findings and reflect on theoretical, methodological and practical value of using Participedia in contemporary democracy research.


Speakers include:


  • Dr Edana Beauvais (McGill University)

  • Dr Simon Niemeyer (University of Canberra)

  • Dr Francesco Veri (University of Canberra)


The roundtable will be moderated by Dr Selen Ercan (University of Canberra).

Download the event poster here.

Towards earth system governance: planetary politics in the 21st century

Frank Biermann, Utrecht University

Tue 14 May 2019

Room 1, Ann Harding Conference Centre, University of Canberra

The human impact on our planet has caused changes that are outside the range of natural variability and are equivalent to major geological disruptions. In such an era of planet-wide transformation, we need a new model for planet-wide environmental politics. In his presentation, Frank Biermann proposes “earth system” governance as just such a new paradigm. Biermann offers both analytical and normative perspectives. He discusses some of the key challenges of earth system governance and lays out a series of proposals for more progressive planetary politics in the 21st century. He addresses as well important challenges of making earth system governance more inclusive, equitable and just, and how local actors can work within a planetary vision on achieving the transition towards a more sustainable world. Drawing on fifteen years of research, Biermann formulates earth system governance as an empirical reality and a political necessity. As the founding chair of the global “Earth System Governance” research alliance, Biermann also reflects on his experiences in developing global research networks, and on how Australian researchers can become more involved.


About the speaker

Frank Biermann is a research professor of Global Sustainability Governance with the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He is the director of the GLOBALGOALS research programme on the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals, supported by a major European Research Council personal ‘Advanced Grant’; the founder of the Earth System Governance research alliance, a global transdisciplinary research network; and the editor-in-chief of Earth System Governance, the new peer-reviewed journal with Elsevier. Twitter: @FHBBiermann

Reshaping planetary politics: Governance and activism in the Anthropocene

Wed 13 February 2019

Ann Harding Conference Centre, Building 24, University of Canberra

This event is co-convened by Dr Jonathan Pickering and Professor John Dryzek


Humans are transforming the Earth at an increasingly rapid rate, so much so that many scientists believe that the planet has entered a new epoch: the Anthropocene. This public panel session will explore key political challenges facing communities, governments and global institutions in the Anthropocene.


Speakers include: 

  • Lisa Disch (University of Michigan)

  • Cristina Yumie Aoki Inoue (University of Brasilia)

  • Lauren Rickards (RMIT University)

  • Tim Hollo (Green Institute; Greens candidate for Canberra)

  • James Trezise (Australian Conservation Foundation)


Hosted by the Centre for Deliberative Democracy, Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra; co-sponsored by the Sydney Environment Institute; supported by the Earth System Governance Project

Environmental and climate governance in the Philippines

Sat 3 September 2016

Lennox Room, Crawford School, Australian National University

This panel is co-convened by Nicole Curato & Emerson Sanchez


The Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance is sponsoring the panel on Environmental and Climate Governance as part of the Philippines Update 2016 at the Australian National University. 

Chair: Dr Nicole Curato
Discussant: Honorary Professor Howard Bamsey

The Philippine Environment, Climate Change and Policy Responses
Professor Antonio G. M. La Viña, Ateneo de Manila University

The paper will assess how the Philippine has responded to the challenges of global climate change in the last twenty-six years (1990-2016). It will articulate how this response has been framed around three major considerations: (1) how to avert global climate change through an international climate regime that would limit or stabilize emissions; (2) how to make sure that the Philippines can adapt to the threat of climate change, avoiding its worst impacts; (3) how to ensure that the global and domestic mitigation interventions to address climate change result in sustainable development of our country and communities and not hinder it. Our strategy for the international climate negotiations from Kyoto to Paris, the policies in the national legislation we have enacted such as the Climate Change Act of 2009 and the more recent People’s Survival Fund, and the programs that are implemented locally are all rooted in these three considerations. Sometimes, these considerations can result in conflicting policy decisions such as on coal power where climate change and environment goals clashed with perceived development needs.

The paper will reflect on the progress has been made by looking at Philippine performance in the Paris negotiations, including the gains achieved through that agreement. It will shed light on the Philippine delegation’s work on the 1.5 target, human rights, forests and other ecosystems, loss and damage, and issues related to support (especially finance). The will also analyze the achievements of the Climate Change Commission since its creation in 2009 and identify challenges it needs to overcome, in the context of the escalation of climate change impacts and given the opportunities provided by the Paris Agreement. How to address the coal issue will be emphasized in the paper. Finally, It will emphasize the policy environment necessary to enable the effective engagement of local governments and communities in climate change. Such engagement is critical for the Philippines to move forward on this issue at the policy level as well as on the ground.

A future challenge? Environmental change and migration in the Philippines
Dr Hedda Ransan-Cooper, Research Fellow

Centre for Deliberative Democracy & Global Governance, University of Canberra

Internal migration, especially from rural to urban/peri-urban areas is a common experience in the Philippines. Indeed, its everyday nature is part of the reason it remains a relatively under studied phenomenon. Yet, internal migrants play a crucial role in sustaining vibrant urban activity in the Philippines (albeit not always on favourable terms). They also contribute to urban planning challenges such increased exposure to risks associated with urban settlement in high density flood zones. While it is commonly understood that internal migrants move for economic reasons, this explanation masks a complex reality. It also implicitly places responsibility for under-development at the local scale. 

A case study into the effects of environmental change on migration patterns in rural Albay provides an opportunity to challenge these (and other assumptions) about the causes of internal migration. In presenting the broad range of factors involved in environmental migration, I am not intending to suggest that it is too complex to understand, or to develop policy solutions. I do however argue that an appreciation of broader issues of development is critical if we are to confront and mitigate challenges associated with mobility.
Strengthening community economic resilience:  The case of Mataw fishing and marine governance in Batanes
Dr Ann Hill, Research Fellow, Western Sydney University

Drawing on recent fieldwork (July 2016) and the ethnographic research of Filipino anthropologist, Maria Mangahas, this presentation examines the community economy of Mataw fishing in Batan, Batanes. Mataw fishing refers to a specific set of local indigenous (Ivatan) knowledge practices in relation to catching flying fish and dorado. The presentation draws on community economic theory to highlight past and present economic resilience strategies of Mataw fishermen and to emphasise the ongoing importance of indigenous knowledge practices in contemporary marine governance.

Earth System Governance Summer School

Wed 9 December 2015 to Sat 12 December 2015

Ann Harding Conference Centre, Building 24, University of Canberra

This event is co-convened by John Dryzek. Simon Niemeyer, Lorraine Elliot, Kyla Tienhaara and Lorrae Van Kerkoff, David Schlosberg, Karren Hussey, John Barry, Frank Biermann and Louis Lebel.


We invite PhD students and Early Career Researchers to participate in a Summer School to precede the 6th Annual Earth System Governance Conference, co-hosted by the Australian National University and the University of Canberra.


Speakers include: 

  • John Barry (Queen’s University Belfast)

  • Frank Biermann (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • John Dryzek (University of Canberra)

  • Lorraine Elliot (Australian National University)

  • Karren Hussey (University of Queensland)

  • Louis Lebel (Chiang Mai University).

  • Simon Niemeyer (University of Canberra) 

  • David Schlosberg (University of Sydney)

  • Kyla Tienhaara (Australian National University)

  • Lorrae Van Kerkoff (Australian National University), 


Themes Covered

The Summer School will address the general theme of Earth System Governance and in particular its methodological challenges. Students will study novel ways of integrating insights from earth system analysis and governance research, guided by internationally leading researchers. The School will help students to better understand the causes of global change in an integrated manner and at the same time to develop options for the governance of sustainable development at all levels.


The Earth System Governance Project prioritizes five interdependent analytical problems. These are the problems of the overall architecture of earth system governance, of agency beyond the state and of the state, of the adaptiveness of governance mechanisms and processes, of their accountability and legitimacy and of modes of allocation and access in earth system governance. The proposed Summer School will be inspired by and structured along four of the pillars of this analytical framework: architecture, agency, accountability, and allocation and access.



The first analytical problem – the architecture of earth system governance – includes questions relating to the emergence, design and effectiveness of governance systems as well as the overall integration of global, regional, national and local governance. Core questions include: How is performance of environmental institutions affected by their embedding in larger architectures? What are the environmental consequences of non-environmental governance systems? What is the relative performance of different types of multilevel governance architectures? How can we explain instances of ‘non-governance’? What are overarching and crosscutting norms of earth system governance? In the Summer School we will focus on regional governance structures in the Asia-Pacific region and their place in the overarching global architecture.



Large and complex problems, such as climate change, challenge the capacity of traditional state structures of governance. Moreover, this capacity varies greatly among nation-states, with developing country governments typically dealing with substantial restraints on resources and limited access to information and expertise. Cooperation with other states, but also with local, domestic and transnational non-state actors, appears to be imperative. Additionally, many institutions of environmental governance have already emerged ‘beyond the state’; that is, they are already inclusive of, or even driven by, non-state actors such as corporations, scientific networks, non-profit organizations, banks, etc. In some instances, these actors have taken on authoritative roles in which they substantively participate in the creation of rules. As such, they can be considered ‘agents’ of earth system governance. In the Summer School, lectures will identify the key agents of earth system governance and their sources of authority.



Accountability is closely related to the legitimacy of governance processes, which in turn substantially determines the compliance-pull and effectiveness of rules. Traditional forms of democratic accountability that operate when governments are the sole or central actors do not apply when new forms of governance emerge of a public-private or private nature. Issues of participation and inclusiveness, transparency and openness are important in all forms of governance but become particularly critical when state actors are marginalized. Lectures in the Summer School will address the potential sources of accountability in earth system governance, the role of transparency in fostering accountability, and how mechanisms for enhanced accountability enhance or detract from the effectiveness of governance systems.


Allocation & Access

Earth system governance is, as is any political activity, about the distribution of material and immaterial values. It is, in essence, a conflict about the access to goods and about their allocation – it is about justice, fairness, and equity. The novel character of earth system transformation and of the new governance solutions that are being developed puts questions of allocation and access, debated for millennia, in a new light. The Summer School will address questions such as: how can we reach interdisciplinary conceptualizations and definitions of allocation and access? What (overarching) principles underlie allocation and access? How can allocation be reconciled with governance effectiveness?



The Summer School is structured with morning lectures (two one and a half hour lectures with a half hour break in between), followed by lunch. The morning lectures will cover key theoretical and methodological issues associated with each analytical pillar. In the afternoon sessions, students will take empirical modules. These modules will apply the theories/methods taught in the morning lectures to the flagship activities of the Earth System Governance Project (climate system, water system, food system, and global economic system). Following the empirical modules and a break, the students will be involved in interactive modules on days 2 and 4. The students will take skill modules on days 3 and 5. A draft schedule of the program is included below.












Frequently Asked Questions


How much will the Summer School cost?

There is no fee to participate in the Summer School if you are registered for the 2015 Canberra Conference on Earth System Governance. Lunch and morning/afternoon tea will be provided.


How do I register?

Registration is available through the main conference registration site.


Will budget accommodation be available?

Budget accommodation (starting from $71 per night, including breakfast) will be available at Ursula Hall at the ANU for the duration of the Summer School and Conference. Students will be provided with bus transport to and from Ursula Hall and the University of Canberra each day of the Summer School.


For more information please contact us at esg2015@anu.edu.au


Download the programme here.

New ways of negotiating climate change: Lessons from Paris, Priorities for Reform

Thu 1 September 2016

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra

The Paris Agreement reached at the UN climate summit in 2015 has been heralded as a diplomatic coup, particularly following controversies over previous efforts to reach a global deal. The lead-up to the Agreement saw the rise of several innovative approaches to overcoming deadlock, including the use of indabas (adapted from a traditional South African form of deliberation), new coalitions that cut across traditional country groupings, and emerging forums for dialogue between governments and civil society on issues such as funding for developing countries and climate action in cities and subnational regions. But some longstanding issues remain unresolved, especially whether the regime’s cumbersome consensus-based process for reaching decisions should or can be overhauled.

This panel discussion features speakers with extensive experience in climate change negotiations. The panellists will take stock of what has been learnt from recent innovations and will explore how future reforms could help to improve the regime’s capacity for inclusive, high-quality deliberation.


The panel will comprise: Professor Antonio (Tony) La Viña (Ateneo de Manila University; former senior UN climate change negotiator for the Philippines); Purdie Bowden (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade); Professor Barbara Norman (University of Canberra); and Dr Luke Kemp (Australian National University).

Registration is essential as numbers are limited (please indicate if you will join for lunch and advise of any dietary requirements): to register, contact juliana.rocha@canberra.edu.au.

Deliberative research symposium

Fri 8 July 2016

9:00am – 5:30pm

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra

This event is co-convened by Selen Ercan and Jensen Sass.


This one-day research symposium will bring together scholars working in the field of deliberative democracy. It will draw participants together in a somewhat experimental format. Each participant will be asked to identify a pressing conceptual, normative, or methodological problem for the field of deliberative democracy. Participants will write a short summary of their problem to distribute prior to the symposium.



Participants write a 2-5 page statement of their problem. The statement should set out the problem in generally accessible terms, explain why it must be resolved, and it will outline the major attempts to resolve it (i.e., by other scholars in the field).


The statement will be shared with one other participant prior to the symposium—we term this person a “reader”. The reader will help refine the statement and draw the presenters’ attention to any literature they may have missed. Readers will be assigned to presenters by the organizing committee.


The problem statement will be pre-distributed to participants in the symposium. Participants in the symposium will be given 10-15 minutes to present their problem, which will be discussed for 25-30 minutes.


Key dates:

15 May 2016                Confirm your participation (email: juliana.rocha@canberra.edu.au)

01 June 2016              Announcement of the problem presenters and readers

17 June 2016              Final day to share your paper with your ‘reader’

27 June 2016              Send your problem paper to Juliana to be circulated to all participants


Please make sure that you have addressed the comments and suggestions of  your reader as much as you can.


Download the programme here.