Key Research Interests and Expertise

Heike's research interests include global environmental politics, forest governance and REDD+, the international climate negotiations, non-state actors, urban climate governance, indigenous peoples/knowledge and sustainable development, transformative learning, trust and sustainable food governance.

Research Activities

1. Indigenous peoples/knowledge and sustainable development

Indigenous-International Interactions for Sustainable Development

This project seeks to explore and facilitate the ways in which indigenous knowledge can inform international responses to the adverse effects of climate change and resource extraction specifically, and support sustainable, equitable and inclusive growth and development generally.

2. Forest governance

International conference on REDD+ Justice

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) has rapidly become a key pillar of international cooperation on climate change. A host of state and non-state actors at all levels of governance have entered this emerging policy field. This conference takes stock of developments to date and discusses the role of justice and equity in current debates on REDD+. Its particular aim is to discuss the limits and opportunities in deriving co-benefits from REDD+ activities.

Operationalising REDD+: actors, interests and ideas

This project includes both analysis of the international REDD+ negotiations and field work on local REDD+ projects. It addresses the changing positions and strategies of international environmental NGOs on REDD+; making sense of who influenced the broadening of REDD to include forest management and conservation activities under REDD+; the design of social safeguards; and multilevel governance of REDD+ in practice.

3. Non-state actors and climate change

Non-State Actors in the New Landscape of International Climate Cooperation

This research programme consists of two interlinked projects, which focus on the role of non-state actors in multilateral climate diplomacy as well as non-state climate governance in the transnational arena.

The role of non-state actors in the UNFCCC negotiations

This project investigates how civil society participation in the climate negotiations is being managed, and what impact non-state actors have through being on national delegations. It also addresses how side events function as a marketplace of ideas and how they get diffused into the formal negotiations, exemplified by the case of REDD+.

4. Cities and climate change

Urban climate governance

This project argues for an expansion of the urban climate change research agenda to include an examination of the drivers of emerging partnerships and for theorizing the emerging role of SMEs in the wider context of non-state actors. It theorizes SMEs as agents of change in the multi-level governance of climate change, and cities as niche spaces in which sustainable development paths might be explored. Using the cases of Metro Vancouver, Canada, and London, UK, the project examines the drivers of emerging partnerships between various levels of government and small businesses in the interests of climate change mitigation.  

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