The TransGov project at IASS, Potsdam, Germany

In December 2009, the opening workshop of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam founded by prof. dr. Klaus Toepfer, concluded that sustainability governance would be the first theme to work on. Several months later, the project started and 4 post-doc fellows were found. Together with them and the TransGov Steering Group (Klaus Toepfer, Louis Meuleman (project director), Roel in ‘t Veld and Guenther Bachmann) it was the first team profiting from the inspiring transdisciplinary environment the IASS offers. After a bit more than one year, two publications were completed: The final report, which was presented in November 2011 in Berlin (and in December 2011 in Brussels and March 2012 in New York) and an edited background book (October 2012). Both publications are – as they should be, in line with the inclusiveness of sustainable development – accessible to all by free download:

(2011) Transgovernance: The Quest for Governance of Sustainable Development. Roeland J. in ‘t Veld. Potsdam: IASS. Project director: Louis Meuleman

transgovquestThis report is the first result of the project ‘Science for Sustainable Transformations: Towards Effective Governance’ of the Institute for Advanced Sustsinability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany. It takes up the question of how to steer, advance, administer, and bring about sustainable developments on this globe. This report combines three notions for understanding contemporary societies in their transitions towards sustainability: reflexivity, knowledge democracy and that of the second modernity. These three ideas form the basis for the concrete recommendations that the authors offer in ten distinct areas. Until now, however, our world has not been apt for holistic governance; this is a condition that will intensify if we continue to apply the same governance features that were applied in the past. In this way, the report offers decision-makers and researchers alike a new perspective – without universal formula – for facing the challenges of our times.


transgov2012-100x143(2013) Transgovernance: Advancing Sustainability Governance

Louis Meuleman (Ed.), Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, 319 pp. This second publication on transgovernance by the IASS institute in Potsdam, Germany, gives the sustainability governance debate a new context and provides background think pieces against which the first transgovernance report (2011) emerged. This book analyses  what implications recent and ongoing changes in the relations between politics, science and media – together characterized as the emergence of a knowledge democracy – may have for governance for sustainable development, on global and other levels of societal decision making, and vice versa: How can the discussion on sustainable development contribute to a knowledge democracy? How can concepts such as second modernity, reflexivity, configuration theory, (meta)governance theory and cultural theory contribute to a ‘transgovernance’ approach which goes beyond mainstream sustainability governance? This volume presents contributions from various angles: international relations, governance and metagovernance theory, (environmental) economics and innovation science. It offers challenging insights regarding institutions and transformation processes, and into the paradigms behind contemporary sustainability governance.

‘Transgovernance: Advancing Sustainability Governance’ gives the sustainability governance debate a new context. It transforms classical questions into new options for societal decision making and identifies starting points and strategies aimed at effective governance of transitions to sustainability.