Governance for transformative change

Governance for transformative change

Lessons from the EU’s sustainability transition

25 May 2022, 11:00am-12:30pm CEST
Online & on-site, EUI

An event in the CIVICA Research Excellence Tours series

Transformative change relates to deep and systemic shifts in values, institutions and practices, required to bring about sustainable futures and long-term human well-being. The concept has roots in scientific literature and is increasingly becoming a policy goal at various governance levels. While there is a growing consensus about the need for transformative change, relatively little is known about how to bring it about. Specifically, what can public authorities do to introduce new trajectories of human-nature relations at technological, economic and social scales?

This talk will draw on the existing knowledge about governance for transformative change as well as on the analysis of the recent EU’s policy and legal approaches to effecting change. The EU is among the most vocal promoters of transformative change as an urgent and tangible goal. Since 2019 and particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU has introduced a variety of policy approaches to that end, including the policy innovation of the do no harm principle across its post-covid recovery investments. 

The talk will evaluate the EU’s efforts, particularly from the perspective of furthering governance for and through biodiversity, considering this area as indicative of the type of transformation required. Is the EU’s policy approach conducive to delivering on its strategic goal of putting the economy and society on a sustainable path, as defined by the European Green Deal? What lessons for transformative governance are valuable beyond the EU context? 

The language of the event is English.

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Jerneja Penca is Associate Professor and Head of Academic Affairs at the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI), Slovenia. Her research explores governance aspects of socio-ecological systems at land and at sea. She is currently the Lead of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Blue Economy, and a PI for a research project on evaluation of sustainability transformation; she is also involved in various scientific and capacity-building projects relating to sustainability. Jerneja acts as a Lead Author on the IPBES Transformative Change Assessment. In addition to her research, Jerneja is in charge of EMUNI University institutional partnerships and projects, and closely involved in the Euro-Mediterranean regional dialogue in the areas of science, higher education and innovation cooperation, as well as sustainable development. She is the Managing Editor of the International Journal of Euro-Mediterranean Studies.

Jerneja holds a PhD in Law from the European University Institute, LLM from the University of Nottingham and a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of Ljubljana.


In the CIVICA Research Excellence Tours series, scholars present their research, share their expertise, and meet with faculty and (post)doctoral researchers of the CIVICA universities. The series aims to assert the scientific identity of the CIVICA alliance within the global academic community. 

CIVICA Research brings together researchers from eight leading European universities in the social sciences to contribute knowledge and solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. The project aims to strengthen the research & innovation pillar of the European University alliance CIVICA. CIVICA Research is co-funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Subscribe to the newsletter to stay updated with CIVICA Research developments and opportunities.

Notice: Video & audio will be recorded during the entire event and made available, partly or in full, on the channels of CIVICA, its member institutions, and partners. By joining the event, you automatically consent to the recording. If you do not consent to being recorded, please discuss your concerns with the event's host.  

This event is part of the CIVICA Research Excellence Tours series. CIVICA brings together eight leading European higher education institutions in the social sciences to mobilise and share knowledge as a public good and to facilitate civic responsibility in Europe and beyond. CIVICA was selected by the European Commission as one of the pilot European Universities under Erasmus+. 

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