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Environmental Governance

Professor Anna Davies co-ordinates the environmental governance research in the School and other participants currently include Sue Mullin, Rachel Kavanagh, Joanne Rourke, Ruth Doyle, Laura Devaney and Camille Goulding, Professor David Taylor, Dr. Padraig Carmody, Dr. Clionadh Raleigh, Dr. Joseph Assan, Dr. Ken Irvine, Sam Barret, Andrew Jackson, Nuala Flood, Cora Baibarac, Aimee Byrne, Shane McGuiness, Jiaqi Sun (Bill), Hounaida Abi Haidar, Jessica Pape.  The environmental governance group is involved with numerous projects and partners from the social and natural sciences both in Ireland and across Europe. Current and recent projects are detailed below:


Selected recent publications by EGRG members:

Pape, J., Fahy, F., Davies, A. R. (2011) Developing policies and instruments for sustainable household consumption: Irish experiences and futures, Journal of Consumer Policy, 34, (1), p25 – 42

Qin, J., Taylor, D., Atahan, P., Zhang, X., Wu, G., Dodson, J., Zheng, H. and Itzstein-Davey, F., (2011) Neolithic agriculture, freshwater resources and rapid environmental changes on the lower Yangtze, China, Quaternary Research, 75, (1),p55 – 65

Taylor, D. (20100 Biomass burning, humans and climate change in Southeast Asia, Biodiversity and Conservation, 19, (4), p1025 - 1042

Davies, A.R, Fahy, F., Rau, H., Pape, J. (2010) Sustainable consumption and governance: reflecting on a research agenda for Ireland, Irish Geography, 43, (1), p59 – 79

Carmody, P. and Taylor, I. (2010) Flexigemony and Force in China's Resource Diplomacy in Africa: Sudan and Zambia Compared, Geopolitics, 15, (3), 2010, p495 – 515

Kirby, P. and Carmody, P. (eds), (2010) The Legacy of Ireland's Economic Expansion: Geographies of the Celtic Tiger, London and New York, Routledge.

Caroni, R. and Irvine, K. (2010) The potential of zooplankton communities for ecological assessment of lakes: redundant concept or political oversight? , Biology and Environment, 110B, p35 - 53

Lewis, S.L. et al. (including Taylor, D.),(2009) Increasing carbon storage in intact African tropical forests, Nature, 475, (7232), p1003 – 1006

Assan, J., Caminade, C. and Obeng, F. (2009) Environmental Variability and Vulnerable Livelihoods: Minimising Risks and Optimising Opportunities for Poverty Alleviation. Journal of International Development, 21 (3), p 403-418

Irvine, K. and O’Brien, S. (2009) Progress on stakeholder participation in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive in the Republic of Ireland. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 109B, p365–76. DOI: 10.3318/ BIOE.2009.109.3.365.

Raleigh, C. and Urdal,H. (2007) Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Armed Conflict, Political Geography, 26, (6), p674 - 694


Current Projects:

Health, environmental change and adaptive capacity: mapping, examining and anticipating future risks of water-related vector-borne diseases in eastern Africa” (HEALTHY FUTURES) 2011-2015

Funded under the EU 7th Framework Sub-Activity 6.1.2 Environment and health, Area Health impacts of climate change, ENV.2010.1.2.1-1 this project examines the effect of environmental change on the occurrence and distribution of water related vector-borne diseases in Africa Euro 3,400,000 (4 million Euro total funding). David Taylor ( is the Lead PI and coordinator of this award that in addition to TCD also includes 14 institutional partners from Europe and Africa.


Creating a Sustainable Economy: environmentally focused social economy enterprise (IRCHSS, 2008-2011)

Funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences this project is examining the impact of environmentally-focused social economy organisations on sustainable development within Ireland. The social economy has been identified by the United Nations, the European Union and many National Governments as a mechanism through which economic growth can contribute to sustainable social development, inclusion and well-being. This research is examining the activities or contribution that environmentally focused social economy enterprises in particular have made to the economy and social fabric in Ireland. Professor Anna Davies is the PI of this project and Sue Mullin, is the RA. A preliminary publication from this research can be found at:

DAVIES, A.R., (2009) Does sustainability count? Environmental policy, sustainable development and the governance of grassroots sustainability enterprise in Ireland, Sustainable Development, 17, (3), p174 – 182


CONSENSUS: Consumption, Environment and Sustainability (EPA, 2009-2013)

This project was funded by the Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for the Environment (STRIVE) Programme 2007–2013. The programme is financed by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan 2007–2013. It is administered on behalf of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which has the statutory function of coordinating and promoting environmental research. The project is examining four key areas of household consumption that currently impact negatively on the environment and inhibit our ability, both in Northern Ireland and the Republic, to achieve sustainable development: transport, energy, water and food.  A set of 7 integrated work packages will address four key themes: how consumption can be measured and evaluated; how sustainable behaviours and incentives are being developed and implemented; identifying links between consumption, health and well being; and finally how matters of household consumption are being governed through institutional practice and participation.  Professor Anna Davies is the PI of this project and further details of the team can be found on the project website Ruth Doyle is a PhD student working on the project.


GREENprint (part of trinity haus)

GREENprint is a research programme to investigate Dublin as a living laboratory for future low carbon living. It provides a tangible focus on the urgent need to increase energy efficiency whilst reducing demand, wastage and costs. The innovative approach allows researchers to work with practitioners in the construction sector on a series of site specific projects to translate green ideas into new and creative eco-solutions and skills for buildings, transportation and stakeholders to change life style in support of sustainable energy consumption. The coupling of technological and societal factors provides a unique selling point to be marketed internationally by the Irish construction industry for the construction of new low carbon towns and cities or retro-fitting of existing urban communities. The environmental governance group will be contributing to research low carbon futures for people and communities. Professor Anna Davies and Camille Goulding will be involved with this research programme. Further details about trinity haus can be found at


Biodiversity Politics: part of Biochange (EPA, 2005-2009)



The biodiversity politics project is examining the politics, planning and public understanding of biodiversity in Ireland. While effective biodiversity planning involves a detailed understanding of natural processes and ecosystem functioning it is becoming increasingly apparent that successful protection and enhancement of biodiversity will also require a clear conception of the politics of policy making and a supportive public.  Professor Anna Davies is the PI of this project with Rachel Kavanagh conducting PhD research.  This project is part of BioChange - funded by the Environmental Protection Agency – which is an integrative, multi-disciplinary research framework to support national and local biodiversity policy in Ireland. Core research within the cluster directly addresses the protection and management of ecological resources in the context of pressures that might lead to environmental change by focusing on habitat fragmentation and loss, impacts on non-native species, climate change, pollution and resource management. BioChange will provide an Irish framework to address the most significant biodiversity policy in Europe- halting the decline of biodiversity by 2010.

Turtle on a beach


Communicating environmental risk: waste, incineration and dioxins (EPA, 2006-2010)

This doctoral project is funded by the EPA ERTDI funding stream. Joanne Rourke is the PhD student working on this project with Professor Anna Davies as the supervisor. The project began from the position that public perceptions of environmental risk and their views of the regulatory systems that attempt to govern those risks are pivotal in shaping the outcomes of management regimes.  It has been argued that this is particularly the case where significant scientific and social uncertainty is involved in defining and dealing with risks such as global climate change. The overall aim of this project is to provide the foundations for an empirically grounded, innovative and integrated approach to risk, science and governance that incorporates a clear understanding of what public perceptions are of environmental risk (and risk regulation) and how those public perceptions are (re)formed.


Postgraduate research



Title of Research

Aimee Byrne

Policy, regulation and incentives for sustainable cities: A case study of energy efficiency regimes for Dublin housing

Shane Mc Guinness

Examining the implications of human-wildlife conflict and wildlife value orientations for conservation efforts in eastern Central Africa.

Laura Devaney

The governance of food risk in Ireland: sustainability, biosecurity and communication

Ruth Doyle

Sustainable consumption in Irish households: water and energy

Camille Goulding

Community gardening in New York and Dublin: developing a sustainability analysis framework

Andrew Jackson

Climate Change and Natura 2000: The Future of EU Nature Conservation

Rachel Kavanagh

Biodiversity politics planning and public understanding

Joanne Rourke

Environmental Risk Communication; Waste, incineration and dioxins

Sue Mullin

Sustainable Rural tourism in Greece: governance, practice and impact.

Sam Barret

Climate Justice:  scale, governance and finance

Cora Baibarac

Sustainable transport in Dublin: changing behaviours

Nuala Flood

Design scenarios for a future sustainable Dublin

Bill (Jiaqi Sun)

Environmental history:


Recent projects

User-based waste charges: A national evaluation (EPA 2005-2009)


Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency this project analysed and evaluated the use of weight based domestic waste collection charges in Ireland. It examined the effectiveness of the various weight based schemes in terms of displaying a reduction in domestic waste to landfill and waste recycled, and included an investigation into the prevalence of illegal dumping of domestic waste in the light of the introduction of these charges. The project culminated in an evaluative report of the nationwide experience of weight-based domestic waste collection charges, production of a best practice model for waste charges under a weight-based system and recommendations for future action. A number of publications have emerged from this research. A briefing note and executive summary of findings can be downloaded from the EPA website:,25645,en.html

Academic publications include:
DAVIES, A. R. and O'Callaghan-Platt, A., (2008) Does Money Talk? Waste charging in the Republic of Ireland: government, governance and performance, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 10, (3), p1 – 17
O'Callaghan-Platt, A. and DAVIES, A.R., (2008) Evaluating the success of pay-by-use (PBU) domestic waste charges in Ireland, Irish Geography, 41, (3), p245 – 259


Civil society and waste management in Ireland (RIA, 2004-6)

Waste bin

Funded by the Royal Irish Academy Third Sector Research Programme 2004-2006, this project investigated the view that public policy arenas, formerly the preserve of formal government structures, are being superseded by policy making as a complex system of governance involving different tiers of government and different spheres of public, private and civil society activity. The management of Ireland's waste was identified as a key area where such systems of governance are being developed. Waste management practices have been informed by governments, from the EU to local authorities. Environmental consultancies and industry have been key private sector players in shaping waste infrastructures and civil society, through community groups and environmental organisations, has been mobilized around waste issues. This research examined the form and functioning of civil society in relation to waste issues and evaluated the future potential of civil society to contribute to the sustainable governance of waste in Ireland.

Publications from this research include:

DAVIES, A.R., (2008) Civil society activism and waste management in Ireland: the Carranstown anti-incineration campaign, Land Use Policy 25, 161-172, doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2007.04.002
DAVIES, A.R., (2007) A wasted opportunity? Civil society and waste management in Ireland, Environmental Politics16(1), 52-72
DAVIES, A.R. (2006) Civil society and the politics of waste management in Ireland: constraint, concern and conflict, ISTR Conference Working Papers Volume 5, Bangkok Conference 2006, 


Status: sustainability tools and targets for the Urban Thematic Strategy (EU 6th Framework, 2005-6)


Funded by the European Commission's 6th Framework Programme the STATUS (Sustainability Tools and Targets for the Urban Thematic Strategy) was a 15 month project aimed at forecasting and developing innovative policies for sustainability in the medium and long term. The Urban Thematic Strategy (UTS) was one of 7 Thematic Strategies of the 6th Environment Action Programme. This is a new way of developing environmental policy for complex priority problems that require a holistic approach. The key organising principle for the UTS is sustainable development underpinning. The STATUS Project followed the central objective of the relevant SSP, Task 1, in aiming principally to develop locally-relevant targets for local authorities (LAs) across the EU to self-assess progress with urban sustainable development. To do this, a user-friendly on-line tool will be designed onto which will be entered a range of targets and related indicators. These targets will be developed, through building on the synergies between the UTS themes, the Aalborg Commitments, Urban Audit, and European Common Indicators, and through intensive involvement of LAs at key stages of the Project. The tool used the Lasala On-line approach as a starting point for its development. With this tool, LAs were able to consult all the targets, and receive useful information on them. They can then select targets relating to the local context and enter relevant baseline data against these. It is anticipated that a more refined version of the Prototype Tool would need to be developed (subsequent to the STATUS project) to permit LAs to regularly input data showing progress on the selected targets, and then receive feedback on this. The Prototype tool will be supported by detailed guidance on how to use and monitor progress on local sustainability targets, and a manual for LAs on using the tool. Access to the tool is available at:


Geographies of Waste Governance (IRCHSS, 2004-2005)

Previously perceived as a local, technical issue for governments, waste management is now also a global, socio-political process involving complex patterns of multilevel governance. This study examined the neglected geographies of waste, in particular the integral processes of translocalisation and politicisation.

Publications from this research include the following:
DAVIES, A. (2008) Geographies of Garbage Governance: interventions, interactions and outcomes, Ashgate, Aldershot

DAVIES, A.R., (2009) Clean and Green? A governance analysis of waste management in New Zealand, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 52, (2), p157 – 177
DAVIES, A.R., (2006) Anti-incineration campaigning in Ireland: a case for developing environmental justice dialogue, Geoforum, 37(5), 708-724
DAVIES, A.R., (2005) Incineration politics and the governance of waste, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 23(3), 375 – 398
DAVIES, A.R., (2005) Incineration politics and the governance of waste, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 23(3), 375 – 398


Local climate change networks in Ireland (IRCHSS, 2003-4)

This project emerged from the recognition that climate change policies are informed by contributions from public, private and civil society organisations at a range of scales from the local to the global; what has become known as multilevel governance. Transnational networks of local authorities are an increasingly prominent feature of multilevel governance and they have been heralded as a means to improve the implementation of climate change policy on the ground. However empirical evaluation of these transnational climate change networks is geographically limited and no research examining their impact in Ireland had been conducted. This project considered the significance of European climate change networks within Ireland’s climate change strategy. It found that these formal transnational networks have had limited impact to date due to ongoing negotiations about the politics of scale and responsibility with respect to climate change policies in Ireland.


DAVIES, A.R., (2005) Local action for climate change: transnational networks and the Irish experience, Local Environment: international journal of justice and sustainability, 10(1), 21 – 40
Bulkeley, H., DAVIES, A.R., Evans, B., Gibbs, D., Kern, K., Theobald, K., (2003) Environmental governance and transnational local authority networks in Europe, Journal of Environmental Politics and Planning, 5(3), 235 – 254


Environmental attitudes and behaviour: values, actions and waste management in Ireland (EPA, 2001-2005)

This project provided essential baseline information on environmental attitudes and behaviour and more fine-grained understandings of value-action gaps in the environmental policy arena.  In accordance with sustainable development goals, the project generated concrete findings of public/local authority interactions with the aim of assisting local tiers of governance in improving public participation and levels of trust between various communities in environmental policy making.  By focusing specifically on waste issues, the project developed contextual, or ‘place-based’, recommendations for improved waste management and minimisation policies.  The research produced a number of reports which can be found on the EPA research web page:,13319,en.html

other publications include:

Fahy, F. and DAVIES, A., (2007) Home improvements: enhancing household waste management through action research, Resources, Recycling and Conservation, 52, 13-27
DAVIES, A, Fahy, F and Taylor, D., (2005) Mind the gap! Householder Attitudes and actions towards waste management, Irish Geography, 10, 151-168
DAVIES, A.R., (2003) Waste wars – public attitudes and the politics of place in waste management strategies, Irish Geography, 36(1), 77 – 92


Scholarships and research opportunities

At present there are no scholarships available in the School. This would be advertised on the College and School web-site and internationally through relevant web portals. The Royal Irish Academy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences and the European Commission (through the Framework 7 Programme) have all funded research conducted by the environmental governance group in the past. Prospective post-graduate students should consult the web-pages of these bodies to find detailed information of potential funding sources and contact the research group leader with any research proposals.


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Last updated 15 March 2011 Natural Sciences (Email).