The 2019 Earth System Governance (ESG) Conference in Oaxaca, Mexico was my first to attend the Earth System Governance conference, and I have to say the organizers raised a high bar. I enjoyed the culturally significant welcome reception, the beautiful historical venues for the parallel sessions, and the enriching discussion on sustainability and peace. Plus, I got to chair two sessions, one of which included a presentation by Frank Biermann (ESG founder), of excellent work from inspiring scholars from Mexico and around the world. The theme of this year’s conference was “Urgent Transformations and Earth System Governance: Towards Sustainability and Justice.”

The most memorable session for me was a semi-plenary on the recent publication of the Global Environmental Outlook-6: Healthy Planet, Healthy People where Joyeeta Gupta (University of Amsterdam) and Pierre Boileau (United Nations Environment) explained the challenges in bringing together different and, sometimes, contradicting perspectives about justice and sustainability. While there is a recognition of the need to work towards not just a sustainable but also a just future, the current economic frameworks and business priorities oftentimes take over equity and justice in development pursuits.

The next year’s conference will be held at Bratislava, Slovakia from 18 to 20 September 2020. The call for papers can be found at the ESG official website, and the deadline for abstract submission is 15 December 2019.