‘International Conference on ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY DISCOURSES SINCE THE 1960S: Politics, Problems and Narratives of Environment Policies in Europe and Asia’

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‘International Conference on ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY DISCOURSES SINCE THE 1960S: Politics, Problems and Narratives of Environment Policies in Europe and Asia’

About the Conference

Institute for Governance, Policies & Politics (IGPP), in collaboration with the German Research Foundation, Bonn, Germany, Liebig University Giessen, Germany and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, organized an international conference on the topic “Environmental Policy Discourses since the 1960s: Politics, Problems, and Narratives of Environment Policies in Europe and Asia” on 24th & 25th November 2022, at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Academicians, policy-makers, researchers, and other experts from across the globe presented their papers and chaired sessions during the international conference in an attempt to bridge narratives and enquire into the discourses of environmental policies that have governed Europe and Asia since the 1960s. Although the politics in these two different parts of the world present different trajectories through history, climate change and environmental challenges remain a problem that requires a solution in truly global proportions.

The objective of the Conference

The conference attempts to compare policies and bridge narratives of environmental discourses across Europe and Asia to arrive at a better understanding and solution in policies for environmental challenges.


  • A comparative understanding of the problematization in Environmental Issues: Environment and Politics in different countries.
  • Environment and Politics in different countries
  • Understanding sectoral issues in Environmental Governance
  • Discourses on Semantics and Narratives in Environmental Challenges
  • Discourses on Policies and Narratives in Environmental Challenges

The event, “Environmental Policy Discourses since the 1960s: Politics, Problems, and Narratives of Environment Policies in Europe and Asia”. It had five sessions over a period of two days.

Day 1: 24th November 2022

Inaugural Session

Welcome Address: Prof. Vivek Kumar, Chairperson of the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Prof. Kumar emphasized the role of technology in habitats and the way it impacts the environment. He mentioned R K Mukherjee’s “Man and his habitation”. Prof. Kumar put a thrust on changing social habitats as a solution to the environmental problem because it’s “NOW OR NEVER”.
Remarks by: Rector, Jawaharlal Nehru University

About the Conference : PD. Dr. Dr. Detlef Briesen.

Keynote Address: Prof Anand Kumar, Retired Professor, Centre for the Study of Social System, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Remarks by LDA Chairman.
Prof. Anand Kumar refuted the western concept of the environment as something anti-development as it favoured industrial and corporate development. He mentioned the Chipko Movement of 1973, Mira Bhen and Bahuguna and their contribution towards the environment. Prof. Anand highlighted the role of local people in protecting the environment who stood against industrialization as he talked about the tribals of Niyamgiris and the youth of Garhwal. He added three more pillars to the existing four pillars of society: legislative, executive, judiciary, media, political parties, universities and civil society.
Address by: Dean, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Vote of Thanks: Dr. Asheesh Kumar

Session I :
A Comparative Understanding of Problematizations in Environmental Issues

Key questions of the session:

  • How are the issues of the environment problematized in different countries around the world?
  • Who are the stakeholders involved?
  • What are the different methods/strategies used by different stakeholders?
Chair: Prof. V Sujatha
Dr. Ho Thi Thanh

Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities Vietnam National University, Vietnam

Abdul Fikri Angga Reksa

Research Center for Area Studies National Research and Innovation Agency, Indonesia

About the Topic:
The problematization of environmental issues in Indonesia
As a developing country, Indonesia is dealing with economic development and environmental sustainability dilemmas. Political dynamics in Indonesia, which are rather volatile, affect which direction of environmental policies are implemented by the government. Hence, this chapter analyses the Indonesian government’s ecological policy changes from the post-New Order period to the present. The post-New Order time frame was chosen due to a transformation of the political regime from authoritarianism to democracy. This study used exploratory literature review and policy interrogation methods to discuss the positive adjustment and limitations of environmental policy in Indonesia after the New Order period.
Dr. Nguyen Tuan Anh

Faculty of Sociology, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Hanoi

About the Topic:
Public authorities and the problematization of environmental protection in Vietnam
Under the deepening globalization, Vietnam is striving for the national goal of industrialization and modernization. In this context, Vietnam has faced many different environmental problems, from environmental pollution, and biodiversity degradation, to climate change. Therefore, for many years, protecting the environment, strengthening resource management, proactively preventing and combating natural disasters, and coping with climate change have always been issues of concern to the Communist Party of Vietnam. Many guidelines and policies of the Communist Party of Vietnam on environmental protection and response to climate change have been promulgated. In this chapter, the perspectives, and orientations of the Communist Party of Vietnam on environmental protection will be discussed. This discussion contributes to broadening the understanding of environmental protection in Vietnam.
Asni kumar Singh
Environment crisis in Loktak lake Manipur- Presentation

Asni Kumar Singh talked about the Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in south Asia and the only floating National Park in the world. He talked about his childhood experiences through which he highlighted that cries are personal.

Presentation of achievements and projects in saving Loktak Lake (Ramsar Site, and also with the only floating National Park in the world which is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre) by Loktak Development Authority (LDA).

PD Dr. Dr. Detlef Briesen

History and Cultural Studies, Justus Liebig University and German Research Foundation, Germany

About the Topic:
Consumer panic as a factor in the problematization of environmental issues in the USA and Germany
According to the prevailing opinion, political processes are not only initiated in democracies by the mass media or their agenda-setting function. For this reason, the environmental policy also begins with mass media addressing environmental issues. But how did agenda-setting take place within the framework of the mass media, which are quite different worldwide? What are the respective origins of environmental debates? And how does the consumer panic perpetrated through the media become a factor in the problematization of environmental issues in the USA and Germany is something the paper explores.

Session II :
Environment and Politics in Different in Countries​

Key questions of the session:

  • How does politics play a role in environmental policy-making?
  • How does the political stakeholder tackle the environmental challenges indifferent countries?
  • What are the challenges in key sectors of environmental politics?
Prof. Dr. Ulrich von Alemann

Political Science, Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf

Kumaresan Raja

Professor Department of Politics & International Studies Pondicherry University, India

About the Topic:
The Indian Federal Level and Parties, Associations and Initiatives for Environmental Protection in India
The world’s largest democracy India showcases her as the only successful postcolonial democracy in the Global South. The established structure of Constitutional democracy with a Federal political structure inherits a colonial vestige. To what extent the structure of the Indian politics and governance placarding the assertion of sovereignty as defined in the Colonial experience is capable of accommodating the change in public policy environment and engaging discourses of social media will be the principal focus of this paper.
Devendraraj Madhanagopal

Professor Department of Politics & International Studies Pondicherry University, India

About the Topic:
Politicization of environmental protection in India versus the emergence of a political field
Climate change is one of the extraordinary concerns of our generation, and unless it is tackled systematically and holistically, it will continue to offer massive and complex challenges to future generations. Several coastal regions of India have already seen the most severe effects of climate change in various aspects, including the increasing severity and frequency of cyclones, torrential downpours, sea-level rise, and erosion, as well as their consequences.

Through secondary literature, this chapter is one such attempt to document the existing climate change communication efforts and strategies of the local media outlets (particularly print media) and online news entities of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
Animesh Roy

Development Geography Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

About the Topic:
Who can mobilize resources for environmental protection in India?
The East Kolkata wetland consists of marshes and meadows, sewage farmlands and settling ponds. The ever-sprawling urban growth in both the post-colonial and neoliberal regimes, however, emerged as a potential threat to its existence and equilibrium.

The progressively increasing influx of neoliberal global real estate capital in this wetland zone has led to a process of its commodification and elimination of large varieties of flora and fauna. Keeping this backdrop in view, this paper proposes to illuminate how the political economy of urbanism and progressively mounting contemporary “glocalised capitalism” (Brenner and Theodore 2002) in the eastern peri-urban part of Kolkata, have led to an illegitimate wetland grabbing in a process of transformative place-making and is causing a perturbing environmental degradation. It also aims to elaborate on how the local and regional media played central parts in covering and bringing up this issue to the notice of both state forces and the citizenry.

Day 2: 25th November 2022

Session III
What are the discourses on semantics and narratives around environmental challenges?​

Key questions of the session:

  • What are the challenges in key sectors of environmental
         governance in India?
  • How do broader environmental governance mechanisms perform in a particular sector and its                   challenges?
  • What are the political challenges in different sectors involved in the enforcement of environmental           governance?
PD. Dr Dr Detlef Briesen
Sarada Prasanna Das

Associate Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

About the Topic:
The Politics and Un-Politics: Analysis of sectoral environmental governance in India
Over the last fifty years since environmentalism first exploded onto the world political agenda, the environment has been one of the most controversial and rapidly growing areas of public policy. The countries in the North and South have enacted several policies and regulations for environmental protection. However, these policies have been enticized due to their superficial protective coverage, absence of concrete measures, and poor execution.

The paper has tried to examine the concept and practice of environmental governance in India. It has provided a historical overview of environmental governance and highlights the challenges and opportunities in the different spheres of environmental decision making, taking some examples.
Abhinav Sharma

About the Topic:
Electricity sector and Environmental Governance in India
Pranav Dhawan

About the Topic:
Air Pollution and its Inter-Sectional Linkages

Session IV :
Discourses on Semantics and Narratives in Environmental Challenges​

Key questions of the session:

  • What are the discourses on semantics and narratives around environmental challenges?
  • How are discourses on the environment different in different countries of Asia?
  • Who are the key actors in the discourse on the environment?
Prof. Harish Naraindas
Dr. Michael Baurmann

Senior Professor for Sociology University of Dusseldorf

About the Topic:
The Environmental Discourse within the Local Commons
One of the most important fundamental questions of environmental problems is the character of the environment as a (violated or threatened) public good, a local, national and global “commonwealth”. This character of the environment contributes on the one hand to an overuse of natural resources and on the other hand, it makes environmental protection measures more difficult. This “Tragedy of the Commons” is discussed in this article in an international comparison: for Germany from the perspective of the common good, for India from that of the joint ownership of land use rights
Nguyen Thi Thuy Hang

Faculty of Sociology University of Social Sciences and Humanities Vietnam National University, Hanoi

About the Topic:
Social Media and the Environmental Discourse in Vietnam
According to the Digital Report of We are social and KEPIOS, as of February 2022, Vietnam had a total population of 98.56 million people, 72.10 million of whom are Internet users. The amount of time spent on accessing the Internet via mobile phones accounted for 53.2% of this sum, which was equivalent to 3 hours 32 minutes, and that via desktop and tablet computers was 3 hours and 6 minutes.

This research investigates whether the use of social media increases awareness to save the environment for Vietnamese citizens. Firstly, the researcher explores the dissemination rate of social media and their impact on Vietnamese society. Secondly, the paper discusses several prevailing online forums and campaigns with the aim of environmental protection, such as the campaign against tree-logging in Hanoi and the Formosa environmental disaster. Finally, the paper concludes with facts and observations which determine the role of social media in increasing awareness and fostering participation in environmental protection and in the ecological turn in Vietnam.
Manish Tiwari

Director, Institute for Governance, Policies and Politics

About the Topic:
Enquiring Framing in India's Mainstream Newspapers: Interpreting frames of the Climate Change news in India during COP-26
The United Nations Climate Change Conference was held from 31st October 2021 to 13th November 2021. Organized in Glasgow, UK, the event is better known as COP26 and its outcome was the Glasgow Climate Pact signed by almost 200 countries. As the conference proceeded, climate change began to find precedence in the 4 newspapers in India that were examined. This paper examines the framing of information about climate change or climate-related issues by four national newspapers: The Times of India, The Indian Express, Dainik Bhaskar, and Dainik Jagran during COP26. The inquiry into framing shed important understandings into what climate change is as perceived by the media houses mentioned, which through the frames such as political frames, economic consequences frames, health frames, etc. shape the information into categories that structure public opinion. Framing is then a very political exercise done by the media to shape public opinion and influence policy-making. This paper is an inquiry into the framing of climate change in the four-newspaper mentioned above during COP-26.
Dr. Lailufar Yasmin

Professor at the Department of International Relations University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

About the Topic:
The discourse on the Commons in Bangladesh
The Sundarbans of Bangladesh is identified as one of the world heritage sites by UNESCO. The existence of the uniquely natured forest, named after the most commonly found tree Sundari (beautiful), is being considered at threat. Due to a number of man-made reasons, the rate of depletion of the forest is alarming. In this article, I discuss, following the pros and cons of the ‘tragedy of commons’ argument about the existing condition in the Sundarbans. The methodology would be based on qualitative research which would include both primary and secondary data including field visits in the region.

Session V :
Discourses on Policies and Narratives in Environmental Challenges​

Key questions of the session:

  • What are the different discourses on semantics, and narratives around environmental issues in Asia        and Europe?
  • What are the policy discourses on the environment in Europe and Asia?
  • Who are the main stakeholders of Policy discourses?
Dr. Sarada Prasanna Das
Prof. Dr. Patrick Ziegenhain & Ririn Sefsani

University of Trier/ President University Department of International Relations, Indonesia

About the Topic:
How does environmental policy emerge and how is it prevented in Indonesia?
This paper explores the close connection between media coverage and environmental awareness. It takes a closer look at Indonesia and analyses how far the national media can play the before-mentioned role as an agenda setter towards more environmental awareness or influence the environmental policy of the country. Empirical data is studied and general issues are also highlighted with case studies from various parts of Indonesia. The possibilities and limits of Indonesian media when exposing and covering environmental issues in recent years are analyzed.
Dr. Arun Kumar Nayak

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science Government Degree College, Santir Bazar, Tripura (India)

About the Topic:
Problematization of the Environment and Role of Protest Movements in India
It is well known that the execution of large-scale development projects, especially dams and industrial projects, has been causing massive involuntary displacement across the globe, which raises the question of the rights and justice of displaced people and the sustainability of the ecology and the process of development. As a result, such negative effects of large-scale development projects cause resistance, protests, and environmental movements throughout the world. In this context, the article has discussed the nature and character of environmental resistance and movements in India in general and Northeast India in particular and narrated how the governments respond to these movements.
Timo Mohr, MA

Rodgener Straße 87, 35394 Giessen Timo.mohr@geschichte.uni-giessen.de

About the Topic:
No panic? The discourse on the Fukushima disaster in Japan
Concrete environmental topics are important national issues whose implementations vary from country to country. This is also true in the following example of Japan. Here, too, society and government institutions have their very own reactions to solving pressing environmental problems in the 2010s and 2020s.

This paper introduces more widely spread-out relevant topics to pave the way for further research in these highly relevant areas and will provide examples of where the keywords “environmental policy,” “civil society mobilization” and “media” intersect. This paper does not promise a fully comprehensive description of the complex issues, but it will draw on relevant points and shed light on them.


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