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Environmental Diplomacy and Geopolitics

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EDGE (Environmental Diplomacy and Geopolitics)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2019-02-28

The objective of EDGE was to increase and reinforce the cooperation that had been initiated between the University of Economics in Bratislava, Sciences Po and the University of Liège in the field of Environmental Diplomacy and Geopolitics. The field of environmental diplomacy has become increasingly important as the human activity exacerbates the climate impacts and leads to massive relocations of capital and labor. Recently, even the formerly reluctant decision makers have recognized the need for stringent environmental policies that materialized in the form of breakthrough agreement achieved at COP23 negotiations. The project targeted not just at reinforcement of teaching and research capacities, as well as joint publication strategy but also to greater visibility of EUBA within international research and high-profile community and the completion of the project on Global Narratives on climate change. After the project came to its end, we are happy to see that our objectives have already been fulfilled beyond expectations. The project continues with the new H2020 GA 822806 MAGYC project, has advanced the global understanding on climate change-human interactions through submissions to high-class journals and opened the door for EUBA to provide high-profile consultancy work.
EDGE is built around four main working packages (WP).

WP 1 covers joint research activities, events and projects pertaining to environmental diplomacy and geopolitics. These included first and foremost the organization of annual conferences: the first annual conference was held in Liège in November 2016 and we were proud to see that it attracted more than 600 scholars from all around the world. It also initiated the foundation of the Hugo Observatory to be the leading research institute in the field of environmental migration. The second EDGE conference Politics of the Earth took place in Paris in December 2017 and the final EDGE conference named Digitalization and Smart Green (R)evolution was held in Bratislava in November 2018. Researchers also presented their work at various prestigious fora such as at the COP 22 climate negotiations in Marrakech in November 2016, at the KNOMAD meeting at World Bank in Washington in May 2016. The separate EDGE panel at the ISA conference in Hong Kong in June 2017, or at the AAG in New Orleans in April 2018 are just two examples of how closely the researchers from the three universities worked together within the project.

WP2 fostered cooperation and exchanges of faculty and students between the three partners. Shortly after the beginning of the project, EUBA and ULg as well as Sciences Po and ULg signed bilateral cooperation agreements that would allow for students exchanges in the future. These agreements will outlast the project, and complement the one that existed already between Sciences Po and EUBA. Together, they form the foundation of a durable cooperation between the three universities. Only six months after the launch of the project, the first student exchange took place between Sciences Po and EUBA. A major success was the first EDGE international summer school, which had been organized at Sciences Po in September 2016. Despite the very short window of time available for the organization, between March and September 2016, more than 30 international students took part and was dedicated to the ‘politics of the Earth’. The second edition of the summer school was held in September 2017 in Bratislava celebrating biodiversity, water, forests and bio-agriculture and the last was organized by ULg in September 2018, focusing on environmental changes and migration.

WP3 aimed at reinforcement of the EDGE activities such as changes in curricula: ULg for example reshuffled its Master’s degree in climate science thanks to the inputs of EDGE. The EUBA has announced new courses that deal with the climate change and introduced the environmental dimension also into various other courses. The rotating Chair in Environmental Diplomacy was also implemented. In the Spring of 2016, professor Clive Hamilton from Charles Sturt University in Australia took the honor, EUBA nominated Dr. Alex De Sherbinin from Columbia University, USA, and ULg drafted Prof. Emeritus Roger Zetter from University of Oxford, UK.

WP4 publicized the results of the project and increased the international appeal of EUBA mainly through joint publication strategy developed between the three universities. First, the annual edition of The State of Environmental Migration, in completely reshuffled format, was published by the University Press of Liège. Second, François Gemenne from Sciences Po has been invited to join the board of Journal of International Relations, the journal run by the Faculty of International Relations at the EUBA. The EDGE special issue in the journal came out March 2018. Third, Sciences Po University Press has commissioned an Atlas of the Anthropocene, to be published in August 2019, to the researchers of the project. The EDGE team drafted together also the Guidance paper for the Republic of Maldives in February 2019 that summarizes tailor-made recommendations for the Maldives foreign and environmental policies as resulted from the EDGE workshop in February 2019.
The first EDGE conference marked the launch of the Hugo Observatory - the first-of-its-kind research centre on environmental migration that in just two years managed to secure 3.2 mil funding relating to the H2020 project MAGYC GA 822806. The Observatory is now financially sustainable with funding coming from various international project coordination. The EDGE team has engaged in high-profile consultancy work such as the KNOMAD World Bank workshop in 2016, COP24 and COP25 negotiations, EDGE workshop in Maldives resulting into a Guidance paper to the President and government of Maldives in February 2019. In addition, during the second project period, the structural changes at both Ulg and EUBA have been initiated, namely the reshuffling of curricula on Geography: climatology at ULg that now involve also the course Economics of climate change taught by EUBA lecturers, as well as a new Project Center at the EUBA aiming to support implementation of H2020 projects at EUBA under the auspices of the Vice-Rector for Research and Development, a new strategy for the university scientific journal towards the Emerging Sources Citations Index by Clarivate Analytics, ULg receiving the Observer status at COP negotiations. The EDGE project also thanks to the discussions that surround the issues of climate change and human interactions got large visibility from local and European stakeholders. The first and last EDGE conferences were presided by the Minister of Environment of France and Slovakia respectively. They included representatives of not just wide academia but NGOs and private sector as well. The project reached out also to third countries – PhD students from Africa, Asia and South America travelled long to acquire knowledge at the EDGE summer schools and shared their knowledge on their home climate change demonstrations. The networking at the EDGE conferences evolved into new consortia for H2020 proposals the EDGE team has submitted.
EDGE summer school Bratislava - Sept 2017
ISA conference Hong Kong - June 2017 - EDGE panel session
EDGE annual Conference Bratislava - November 2018
EDGE summer school Paris - Sept 2016
EDGE summer school Bratislava - Sept 2017
Workshop in the Maldives - Feb 2019
Chair of Environmental Diplomacy -Roger Zatter - October 2018
Seinar in Indonesia - Feb 2019
AAG Annual Meeting_EDGE panel - April 2018
Researchers mobilities from EUBA at Sciences Po -Raneta_Kucharcik-November 2017
Hugo Conference Liege - November 2016 - plenary
Hugo Conference Liege - November 2016 - session 1
Chair of Environmental Diplomacy - Alex de Sherbinin - October 2017
Final EDGE conference - Bratislava - Nov 2018
Chair of Environmental Diplomacy - Clive Hamilton - May 2016