S.O.S. – Science for Ocean Sustainability – An Earth System Governance perspective

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Call for Paper: Earth System Governance – S.O.S. – Science for Ocean Sustainability – Call for papers – Earth System Governance – Journal – Elsevier

The journal Earth System Governance addresses governance processes and institutions at all levels of decision-making – from local to global – within a planeta…


You are invited to contribute to an upcoming Special Issue of Earth System Governance to strengthen our Ocean Governance task force, aligned with the Earth System Governance Science Plan, and to produce a social science contribution to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Leandra R. Gonçalves (University of São Paulo), Candace K. May (South Dakota State University) and DG Webster (Dartmouth) will serve as guest editors.

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will take place between 2021 and 2030 (https://oceandecade.org/). The Ocean Decade offers a framework to strengthen connections and weave partnerships between all communities working to study, conserve and sustainably use the ocean and its resources. The Decade will boost scientific research and innovative technologies to ensure science responds to the needs of society. In other words, the Ocean Decade intends to produce “the science we need for the ocean we want”.

The special issue will seek to address the ten Ocean Decade challenges, and provide a reflection within the Earth System Governance perspective. The UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), coordinates the design and preparation of a Decade Implementation Plan, to define a set of high-level scientific and technological advances, necessary to achieve seven desired results: a clean ocean; a healthy and resilient ocean; a predictable ocean, sustainable and productive ocean; transparent and accessible ocean; and known and valued by all. Thus, “The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want” is expected to be built in a cooperative, systemic and integrated manner. The entire oceanic community is faced with a historic opportunity to join forces, mobilize resources, establish partnerships with the private sector and the general public, and involve governments and international organizations towards the “Ocean we need for the future we want”, without leaving anyone behind.

The main motivation for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is to unite efforts by all disciplines and views related to the sea to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and create better conditions for achieving sustainable development. For that, science-based adaptation strategies and policy decisions are essential. The Decade is an inclusive, participatory and global process that respects local realities for building a sustainable future, which makes essential contributions from the Global North and South.

Thus, we invite you to engage with the ocean governance taskforce, and collaboratively propose interdisciplinary papers that provide inputs to the key issues requiring a focus (current status and trends), key science and capacity development needs (gaps, challenges, and opportunities), and recommendations (pathways for solutions and cross-cutting priorities) for the science-policy agenda to achieve the Ocean Decade outcomes and face its challenges.

The Earth System Governance project’s latest research framework presents a number of themes relevant to this task, including Democracy & Power, Architecture & Agency, Justice & Allocation, Anticipation & Imagination, and Adaptiveness & Flexibility (see Burch et al. 2019). With these research lenses in mind, this Special Issue seeks to attract previously unpublished work that addresses the challenges for ocean governance from an Earth System Governance perspective. Submissions may take the form of Perspectives of 2-4k words, Reviews of up to 12k words, and Research Articles of 8-10k words (see explanations here). Theoretical, empirical, critical, and summative papers are all welcome. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Ocean Decade Challenges from a social science perspective
  • The governance of ocean decade
  • Just and Inclusive transition to a blue economy
  • Fisheries, Ports, Mining – planning the future of blue economy
  • Gender and Ocean Governance
  • Actors in the ocean arena
  • Coastal Livelihoods and Adaptation
  • Place-Based Community Vulnerabilities and Responses
  • Local to Global and Regional Networks

If you are interested in contributing to this Special Issue, first please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Leandra R. Gonçalves ([email protected]) by 25th of September. Full manuscripts will be due by 25th October 2021. The Special Issue is slated for online publication by the end of 8th June 2022. All articles will be subject to double-blind, peer review. The editorial staff places a high priority on obtaining submissions from authors representing diverse backgrounds (i.e. in terms of gender, region, seniority).

Guest editors:

Leandra R. Gonçalves is a post-doctoral researcher in ocean and coastal governance at the University of São Paulo and a research fellow in the Earth System Governance project. She holds a Ph.D. in International Relations at University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. As a research fellow for the Earth System Governance project, she is co-leading the Ocean Governance Task Force with other colleagues which seeks to address the daunting multi-level challenge of oceans governance in the Anthropocene. Her main research interests are: ocean and coastal governance, the interface between science and policy and the effectiveness of institutional arrangements towards ocean governance. She has also been involved in the Decade of Ocean Science process in Brazil and is a Lead Author at the United Nation Global Environmental Outlook.

Candace K. May is an Assistant Professor of Sociology & Rural Studies and Affiliated Assistant Professor with the Department of Natural Resources Management at South Dakota State University. She is a research fellow with the Earth System Governance project and co-leader of the Ocean Governance Task Force and Coastal Communities Cluster Group. Her research focuses on cross-scalar, and multi-level institutions, organizations, and people that form constraints, opportunities, and resources for the collective mobilization of adaptive capacity for community governance of the commons. Candace is a contributor to the United Nations’ 2nd World Oceans Assessment as an expert on coastal communities.

DG Webster is an associate professor in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth. Her main research interest is in understanding the complex dynamics of large-scale social-ecological systems (SESs). She is the author of two books, multiple peer-reviewed articles, and a number of successful interdisciplinary research proposals. Her first book, Adaptive Governance: The Dynamics of Atlantic Tuna Management (2009) posited and tested her vulnerability response framework. It won the International Studies Association’s Harold and Margaret Sprout Award in 2010. Her second book, Beyond the Tragedy in Global Fisheries (2015), explains the evolution of global fisheries governance through a responsive governance lens. She is a research fellow with the Earth System Governance project and co-leader of the Ocean Governance Task Force.