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About the Global Risk Governance programme

The Global Risk Governance programme (GRG) is a research programme, led by Professor Clifford Shearing, within the Public Law Department, Law Faculty at the University of Cape Town. The programme's research activities are focused on understanding the new, and emerging, risk landscapes that are shaping 21 Century securities. Of particular concern are the environmental insecurities associated with the impacts of industrialisation on earth systems. A defining feature of the GRG's research is its regulatory focus, the interdisciplinary nature of its research teams and its collaborative approach. 

Environmental Futures programme.  The project’s focus is on understanding the nature, and governance, of the global wildlife trade (both legal and illegal) and its impacts on bio-diversity and political economies.  The project’s principal disciplinary capacities include criminology, political science, and sociology.  Read more >>>

The Art of Resilience: How security professionals manage the unpredictable
The Art of Resilience aims to understand the practices of security professionals through their implementation and application of the concept of resilience, which becomes central to their work, both in terms of environmental security and cybernetic security. This is a collaborative programme with Prof. Benoit Dupont, International Centre for Comparative Criminology, University of Montreal and Prof. Clifford Shearing.  The project is funded by the SSHRC (The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) and runs from 2018- 2022. Read more >>>

Environmental Entrepreneurs Support Initiative.  EESI is a community engagement initiative, supported by, and undertaken in conjunction with, the Mauerberger Foundation.  The project supports young leaders, who are already realising outcomes that advance environmental sustainability and who will benefit from support that enhances their leadership capacities.  EESI Fellows include young leaders working with Beyond Expectations Environmental Project (BEEP) and SA Urban Food & Farming Trust, Read more >>>

Ports of Call: Understanding Transnational Security Network. The theme of this international comparative research project, funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), is transnational security networks and the flows of goods and people they protect. This project is undertaken together with Prof. Marleen Easton, University of Ghent, Belgium who leads the project and Philip Stenning, (School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University). It examines, in particular, the role played by private security providers, and the networked security arrangements they are part of, through the lens of the ports of Antwerp and Brisbane.
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Development and Risk.  This project is exploring the impacts of bio-psycho-social processes, especially those in early life,  on developments across the life course.  The project seeks to better understand the impacts of epigenetic processes for developmental trajectories, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of developmental and public health interventions.  The project is guided by an understanding of regulatory processes that transcends the established bio-social divide.  A particular focus of the research is on early childhood adversity and its disruptive effects on human cognitive, emotional and social developments.  The disciplinary capacities that the project is utilising include neuro-biology and criminology.   Read more >>>

Recent GRG Projects

Neighbourhood Safety

The Global Risk Governance programme on neighbourhood safety is supporting the City of Cape Town’s Neighbourhood Policing Initiative by providing expert guidance and support.  Read more >>>

Companies Partnering with Municipalities for Local Development and Resilience

Enhancing local economic development and resilience through companies partnerships with municipalities.
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Water and coal seam gas: Achieving integrated governance

This project is an Australian Research Council/Discovery Project undertaken together with  Prof Cameron Holley, University of New South Wales and Prof. Amanda Kennedy, University of New England. This collaborative project is undertaken to evaluate the governance of unconventional gas' water impacts, develop legal and policy principles for their integration in an effective, efficient and legitimate manner, and investigate the challenges it poses for our understanding of integrated governance, and polycentric governance more generally. The project runs from 2017-2019.

Sustainable Energy Systems in Emerging Economies.  This project seeks to understand the factors shaping electrical energy generation, and distribution, within the BASIC countries (Brazil, China, India and South Africa).  Electrical energy constitutes a crucial security across the globe.  A particular focus of the project is the learning that can be gleaned from comparative developments within these countries that can assist South Africa in realising both electrical energy security and ecological security.  The research is a collaboration between the GRG and the Department of Administration and Organisational Theory at the University of Bergen. Read more >>>

Fulcrum Institutions for Socio-Ecological Resilience.  This project focused on understanding the ways in which institutions that are affected by environmental insecurities, and who have a significant regulatory reach are responding to these insecurities.  The project focused, in particular, on insurance, fisheries, agriculture and municipalities as fulcrum institutions.     Team members' disciplinary backgrounds include environmental governance, ecology and criminology.  Partners included UCT's African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI), Griffith University and WWF, South Africa. Read more >>>