Arts Sciences


Getting transformative change right for biodiversity and climate change policy

07 May 2024, 3:30 pm–5:00 pm

Photo of Australian beach during the bushfires

First Annual Graham Woodgate Lecture on Interdisciplinarity. Presented by UCL Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the Institute of Americas

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Prof Tim Jordan


Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre
005: Wilkins Main Building
Gower Street
United Kingdom

Getting transformative change right for biodiversity and climate change policy

Policymakers now discuss “transformative change” in social and economic behaviour as a radical way to protect climate and biodiversity. Yet, transformative change raises significant challenges for integrating scientific analysis with social values. This talk will discuss the movement within environmental science from assessing change towards finding socially valued “solutions,” and what this means for environmental assessment processes, interdisciplinarity, and social participation. The presentation will draw in particular from the assessment on transformative change conducted by The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The Graham Woodgate Annual Lecture on Interdisciplinarity

The Graham Woodgate Annual Lecture on Interdisciplinarity is named for Dr Graham Woodgate, a key contributor to UCL Arts and Sciences and to the Institute of Americas, UCL, who sadly passed away in 2023. Graham was an innovative interdisciplinarian who was fascinated by all aspects of nature-society relations and was involved in the emerging field of agroecology, an interdisciplinary intellectual endeavour that is particularly strongly rooted in the Americas and encompasses scientific research, agricultural practice, and agrarian social movements. He offered intellectual innovations based on his unusual background that began with his training as a forester and on to his work as an academic with his PhD and research interests in the Americas, indigenous communities and socio-ecology.

Graham was also a generous colleague, giving his time and intelligence to both departments and particularly to the students in those departments. He was Head of Department for Arts and Sciences and contributed innovative teaching on the Americas and environmental sociology. These lectures are named in honour of his immense contribution to UCL.

About the Speaker

Professor Tim Forsyth

Professor of Environment and Development and Head of Department of International Development at London School of Economics

Professor Tim Forsyth is a specialist on the politics of environment and development, with a focus on understanding contested science and risk within environmental governance. His work analyses two themes: the politics and policy processes of contested environmental debates in rapidly developing countries; and the evolution of new multi-actor, multi-level forms of governance such as cross-sector partnerships or deliberative forums. He has written on climate change governance; forest policies in Asia; and social movements and local governance.

Professor Forsyth has degrees from the Universities of Oxford and London, and has been a fellow at Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs); the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex; Harvard University, Stanford University, and the European University Institute in Florence. He has more than five years' work and research experience in Asia and is fluent in Thai. He has been a Specialist Adviser to the UK House of Commons International Development Committee on two occasions, relating to climate change and aid, and in preparations for the COP26 meeting in 2021. He is a lead author in the assessment on transformative change organized by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). His work has also been cited in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

Professor Forsyth is also the general editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of International Development, and is on the editorial boards of Global Environmental Politics, Critical Policy Studies, Conservation and Society, Progress in Development Studies, Social Movement Studies, and Frontiers in Human Dynamics: Environment, Politics and Society

More about Professor Tim Forsyth