What is the Conference about?

This transdisciplinary forum aims to advance the understanding of pathways of change in social responses to climate change. Societies in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America are not only highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change but also among the most multi-dimensionally unequal. Social responses to climate change are as diverse as the two regions themselves. Yet they share elements of innovation that can provide a better understanding of transformative change in climate-resilient development pathways.

The forum invites abstracts, sessions and poster submissions from researchers and practitioners at all career stages to understand pathways of change in Southern Africa and Latin America. The concept of pathways will guide the two days of engagement between diverse participants from academia, and public and private sectors with a strong focus on the building blocks of innovation, transformation, and positive change. The meeting format caters for in-person exchanges with partial online streaming at the conference facilities at Cape Town’s Graduate Business School in South Africa (9 Portswood Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town).


Guiding questions for the conference are:

  • How do societies respond to climate change in unequal societies in the Global South?
  • How do different perceptions and societal actors shape social responses to climate change?
  • How do societal actors change rules and build innovative institutions in the governance of climate change?
  • How can existing pathways be inclusively transformed towards a good life and sustainable livelihoods for all?
  •  How can common approaches such as “nature-based solutions”, “integrated water management”, and “just transitions” contribute to changing pathways?

If your work focuses on these questions, consider joining the forum to share your experiences and knowledge either through a poster, active participation or a dedicated session.

If your work focuses on these questions, consider joining the forum to share your experiences and knowledge either
through a poster, active participation or a dedicated session.

Kindly express your interest for attendance right here


Please note this is a preliminary program, changes may occur. You can find the full list of session abstracts here


Wednesday, 13th of March

08:30 ‐ 09:00  Arrival and Registration

09:00 ‐ 10:30 Session 1: Opening Plenary: Innovation, knowledge and theory of change (rooftop)

  • Pathways of Change – the role of collaboration in science and transformative innovation in a climate crises rooftop

Scene setting inputs:
Simone Strambach, Philipps University of Marburg
Erika Mbula, University of Johannesburg
Facilitation: Ruth Beukmann

10:30 ‐ 11:00  Health Break

11:00 ‐ 12:30 Session 2: El buen vivir – climate change and human well-being (rooftop)

  • Pathways of livelihoods and a “good life” in a climate crisis in unequal societies

David Lam, University of Michigan, Representatives of the Department of Forestry,
Fisheries and Environment South Africa
Belynda Petrie, One World
Fabio Andreas Dias Pabon, African Centre for Inequality Research
Facilitation: Ruth Beukman

12:30 ‐ 13:00  Lunch

13:00 ‐ 15:00 Parallel (rooftop)

  • Pathways of change in water governance

Janek Riedel, Philipps-University of Marburg
Simone Strambach, Philipps-University of Marburg
Anna Taylor, University of Cape Town

Themba Gumbo, CEO Cap-Net, CEO Cap-Net Organization
Adriaan Kurtz, CEO Wynlandwater
Nkululeko Mabila, Green Cape
Jessica Wilson, Environmental Consultant

Facilitator: Ruth Beukmann

13:00 ‐ 15:00 Session 4 Earth (breakaway)

  • Local Pathways and Initiatives – From Daily Live Experiences to Strategies and Networks

Session lead: Michaela Meurer, Philipps-University of Marburg
Ernst Halbmeyer, Philipps-University of Marburg
Boitumelo Malope, Stellenbosch University
Stephanie Borchards, Stellenbosch University

15:00 ‐ 15:30  Health break

15:30 ‐ 17:00  Session 5 Energy (rooftop)

  • Pathways of change in energy systems and just transitions

Session lead: Michelle Pressend, TRAJECTS UCT/DAAD
Rasigan Maharaj, Tswhane University of Technology
Julia Schwab, University of Giessen
Megan Cole, University of Cape Town

17:00 ‐ 18:00  Session 6 Reflection (rooftop)

  • Linking unconnected actors, sectors and scales in pathways of change

Wrap up – panellists and rapporteurs

16:15 ‐ 16:45  Documentary film screening (rooftop)

19:00 ‐ LATE Conference Dinner

Thursday, 14th of March

08:00 ‐ 08:30  Arrival and Registration

08:30 ‐ 09:00 Plenary (rooftop)

  • Welcome and introduction to the second conference day:
    How to change towards pathways?

Ruth Beukmann, WWF

09:00 ‐ 10:30 Parallel Sessions: Participation and Discourses

  • Session 7: Pathways of Change: Vote and political representation in climate governance in unequal societies (rooftop)

Evan Lieberman, MIT Department of Political Science
Malebo Seleetse, DFFE
Britta Rennkamp, University of Cape Town
Mpfunzeni Tshindane, Western Cape Government

  • Session 8: Pathways of Change and the Ambivalences of Sustainability (breakaway)

Elisabeth Alm, University of Giessen
Aida Terblanche, North West University
Joern Ahrens, University of Giessen
Gabriel Fauma, University of Botswana

10:30 ‐ 11:00  Health break

11:00 ‐ 12:30 Parallel Sessions: Participation and Discourses

  • Session 9: Facilitating innovations, institutional and behavioural change (rooftop)

Meed Mbidzo, Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST)
Bjoern Vollan, Philipps-University of Marburg
Thomas Falk, Philipps-University of Marburg
Martine Visser, EPRU, University of Cape Town

  • Session 10: Nature-based solutions as a means to changing pathways of sustainable development (breakaway)

Maaike Bader, Philipps-University of Marburg
Anulisa Claire Adhiambo, University of Nairobi
Mark New, University of Cape Town
Bessy Kathimbi, University of Nairobi

Facilitator: Ruth Beukmann

12:30 ‐ 13:30  Lunch

13:30 ‐ 14:30 Parallel Sessions: Participation and Discourses

  • Session 11: Interactive poster presentations, discussion and vote (rooftop)

Facilitator: Marieke Norton

14:30 ‐ 16:00 Facilitated thematic hubs

  • Hub 1: The role of Universities (HEIs) to foster social innovation and sustainability transformation –
    Places, Processes and Pathways

Simone Strambach, Philipps-University of Marburg

Facilitator: Ruth Beukmann

  • Hub 2: Pathways of Change in Science Communication – Beyond well-trodden paths (breakaway)

Janek Riedel, Philipps-University of Marburg

Sara Luettich, University of GiessenFacilitator

Lavinia Perumal, University of Cape Town

16:00 ‐ 16:30  Health break

16:30 ‐ 17:00 Closing Session

Friday, 15th of March

Please RSVP for a walk and lunch to yonela.arosi@uct.ac.za. If you wish to be part of the synthesis working group, please contact britta.rennkamp@uct.ac.za and join the meeting at 11:30 am.


09:30 ‐ 11:00 (Un)sustainable Campus Tour, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch

Meet at Sarah Baartmann Steps, Upper Campus, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch

Tour guided by:
Marieke Norton, African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI)
Manfred Braune, Sustainability Manager, University of Cape Town

(Disclaimer: this walk-and-talk tour involves climbing stairs and unsteady surfaces, wear solid footwear, note that some of the terrain is not wheelchair friendly, use sun protection and bring water)

11:00 ‐ 11:30   Break

11:30 ‐ 13:00  Synthesis working group meeting: reflection and experience sharing and ways forward

Location: ACDI Seminar Room, Geological Sciences, Building 6th floor

13:00 – END         Lunch and End of Conference