19/11/2020 | 12:00 Press Releases  

The Chair’s inaugural conference will take place on Wednesday 25 November 2020

from 5:15 pm to 8:30 pm


The themes of the conference are

Europe’s Role in the World to Advance Climate Neutrality

Territorial Inclusion for a Stronger Resilient Europe


Press accreditation approved by Sciences Po’s press office

Access via Zoom – replay link available on request


Paris, 19 November 2020 – Sciences Po has announced the launch of its European Chair for Sustainable Development and Climate Transition. This interdisciplinary research and teaching chair will provide new insights for all organisations working to advance sustainable development, with a triple focus on the issues of climate transition, economic development and social inclusion.

This is the first Sciences Po Chair affiliated to two of the university’s Graduate Schools. Co-hosted by the School of Public Affairs and the Paris School of International Affairs, the Chair is directed by Shiv Someshwar, a specialist in environmental issues. Someshwar is Professor at Sciences Po and a visiting professor at Columbia University. The Chair is sponsored by the European Investment Bank, Hermès and HSBC.

A transdisciplinary approach

Firmly transdisciplinary in its outlook and approach, the Chair will develop integrative thinking in economics, sociology, technology and the humanities. It will place emphasis on the fundamental issues of securing social inclusion, enhancing environmental sustainability and achieving economic growth. It will promote the design and implementation of national and European public policies advancing the objectives of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the European Green Deal.

An ecosystem of actors collaborating on the creation of public policies and international initiatives                        

The Chair also aims to create a wide-reaching interdisciplinary and transnational ecosystem to impulse research, training and innovation around themes such as territorial well-being and social inclusion, climate finance, biodiversity conservation and climate smart infrastructure. In doing so, the Chair will open up new avenues for actively engaging citizens, businesses and public services. It will contribute to the success of major international programmes and initiatives for the protection of the planet.


Multiple objectives and initiatives for training, research and the leading of a network of actors from the private and public sector

The Chair will allow Sciences Po to:

      Consolidate and develop its offering of specialized teaching programs relating to issues of sustainable development and climate transition.

      Enrich training of civil servants and staffs of companies and civil society organizations in executive training courses in order to enhance their capacity to effectively deal with social and environmental challenges in post-Covid-19 societies.

      Develop innovative solutions for governments and companies thgrough research efforts to help advance the carbon neutrality commitments of the European Green Deal and the One Planet Summit.

      Promote dialogue and exchange of strategic and policy recommendations between key stakeholders from the ecosystem, involving the humanities, natural sciences and social science disciplines.

The Chair will create a dedicated space at Sciences Po for dialogue and collaboration between researchers, professionals, students and civil society stakeholders both within Europe and beyond. Its calendar of events will coincide with the major deadlines of international agreements.


Supported by three sponsors

The Chair is endorsed by three corporate sponsors:

-       The European Investment Bank, the EU’s climate bank owned by member states. Within the EIB Group, the EIB Institute’s missions include support for higher education and research. Sciences Po’s Sustainable Development and Climate Transition Chair is the second initiative in this field that the Institute has supported, along with the creation of an EIB Climate Chair at the European University Institute in Florence.

-       Hermès, the independent luxury brand established in 1837, a company guided by the artisan values of responsibility, authenticity and the long-term. Hermès puts human beings at the heart of its business model, through the training and transmission of craftsmanship that form a founding feature of the company. Its existing partnership with Sciences Po will be strengthened by the Chair, particularly with regards to issues of territorial inclusion.

-       HSBC, one of Sciences Po’s long-standing partners. The HSBC Foundation for Education has supported the university’s equal opportunity programmes since 2005. Fully integrated within the global strategy of the HSBC Group, HSBC France works locally to advance its firm commitment to transition towards a prosperous, low-carbon economy.


Governance of the European Chair for Sustainable Development and Climate Transition

The Chair is directed by Shiv Someshwar, Associate Professor at Sciences Po and a visiting professor at Columbia University (New York, USA).

The Chairholder is supported by the following two committees:

  • The Scientific Committee is composed of experts, external partners, the Deans of the School of Public Affairs and the Paris School of International Affairs. Assisting the Chairholder, the Scientific Committee will determine the strategic orientation of ​research, training, education, and outreach activities annually. The current external members of the Scientific Committee include Prof. Jeffrey Sachs (USA), Prof. Laurence Tubiana (France), Julia Marton-Lefèvre (France), Sunita Narain (India), Prof. Rizaldi Boer (Indonesia), Roberto Lenton (Sri Lanka), Naoko Ishii (USA) and Carlos Lopes (South Africa). The committee is in the process of being expanded.
  • The Steering Committee is composed of the Deans of the School of Public Affairs and the Paris School of International Affairs, the Chair Holder, a Strategic and Development Department representative and representatives of the sponsors. . This committee will oversee the Chair’s annual budget and an annual report on its activities, following the strategic orientation defined by the Scientific Committee. The committee, whose members currently include Enrico Letta, Yann Algan and Shiv Someshwar (the Chair Holder), is in the process of being expanded.

Sustainable development and climate transition at Sciences Po’s School of Public Affairs and the Paris School of International Affairs

The School of Public Affairs, led by Dean Yann Algan, and the Paris School of International Affairs, led by Dean Enrico Letta, welcome between one another more than 3,700 students from all across Europe and around the world. The courses and programmes implemented through this Chair will hence reflect the multidisciplinary nature of pedagogy at Sciences Po.

Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) offers specific Master’s Degree in each of the following fields: Environmental Policy, International Energy and International Development, as well as thematic concentrations in Agriculture, Environment and Sustainability, Global Health and Global Risks. Other programmes promote learning on key concepts of sustainable development, including earth sciences, biodiversity, climate change, energy policy, and energy markets. The School devoted the most recent edition of its flagship Youth and Leaders Summit to the theme of “Prospering in a Climate-Impacted Society”.

In addition, the School of Public Affairs offers a specialized policy stream in Energy, Environment and Sustainability. In addition, students on both the Master in Public Policy and the Master in European Affairs can choose from a wide range of elective courses relating to economic development and social policy. The School also chairs the ​Global Public Policy Network (GPPN), a network of seven graduate schools of international affairs which launched the ​Sustainable Development Goals Certificate (SDG Professional Certificate). This year-long program gives students entrepreneurial skills and knowledge for work on the challenges of the SDGs.

Finally, Sciences Po promotes sustainable development projects and initiatives through different programmes, such as the innovative Policy Lab, which is an open and participative space where students showcase their inventive side and engage in professional projects or prototypes in policy innovation to respond to issues of public interest.

The two schools also jointly deliver a comprehensive range of courses on European political, economic and social issues.

Shiv Someshwar, PhD – Head of the European Chair for Sustainable Development and Climate Transition: Biography

Dr. Someshwar is the European Chair for Sustainable Development and Climate Transition at Sciences Po, Paris. Professor at Sciences Po, he is a visiting professor at Columbia University, New York, in the School of International and Public Affairs. He leads multidisciplinary efforts on building development resilience to climate risks, and advises governments and multilateral institutions on identifying and implementing sustainable development action priorities in pursuit of Agenda 2030.

As principal investigator, Dr. Someshwar has led several international research efforts over the last 30 years. Sample of efforts over the last five years include:

-       Supporting UN SDGs through strategic partnerships and preparedness for the Asian Development Bank;

-       Advancing fire risk management in Papua, Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia;

-       Budgetary and fiscal transfer incentives and communication protocol for peat forest fire prevention in Indonesia; Planning tools for urban climate resilience in India;

-       and Critical decision pathways for urban climate resilience in India.

Over the last decade, Dr. Someshwar has taught several graduate level courses at Columbia University on sustainable development and on climate change policies and risks. At Sciences Po, he teaches graduate courses on sustainable development. He has conducted numerous training events on integrating climate policies into national and regional plans and on sustainable development for government agencies, universities, and multi-lateral organizations, in more than 20 countries.

Dr. Someshwar received a Ph.D. in urban planning (with a focus on the environment) in 1995 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and he was a Bell-MacArthur fellow at Harvard University.  He has two masters’ degrees on housing and environmental planning, and is also trained as a professional architect.

He is a member of the Advisory Council of IDDRI - Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (a Paris-based think tank to facilitate the transition to sustainable development). He is a board member of Arghyam (an Indian philanthropy on safe and sustainable water), and the Center for Climate Risk and Opportunity Management (a Indonesia-based research institute for South East Asia).

Dr. Someshwar has previously worked at the Earth Institute, Columbia University in New York, the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, and at the World Bank in Washington D.C.


About Sciences Po

Founded in 1872, Sciences Po is France’s leading research university in the social sciences. Sciences Po offers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and executive education levels, and developed 42 dual degree programmes with its network of 470 partner universities.

Today, half of Sciences Po’s 13,000 students are international and represent 150 nationalities. Education at Sciences Po is multidisciplinary, multilingual and outward looking. It also places great emphasis on professional exposure. Following completion of their degree, 80% of the graduates are hired within six months of graduation and 39% start their career abroad. Sciences Po holds a high standard of social responsibility, and plays a pioneering role in the promotion of diversity and equal opportunity in higher education. Sciences Po has an array of financial aid for students of all origins and 26% of the student body hold a scholarship. For more information on Sciences Po:


Media contacts

Sciences Po: Marie Frocrain,, tel. +33 (0)1 49 54 37 71

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