The Earth System Governance Project is an international, interdisciplinary social science research project under the auspices of the IHDP, Bonn, Germany. Established in October 2008, it will run until 2018. The project carries out fundamental and applied research on the interrelated and increasingly integrated system of formal and informal rules, rule-making systems and actor networks at all levels of human society set up to steer societies towards preventing, mitigating and adapting to global and local environmental change. The project is particularly concerned with earth system transformation within the context of sustainable development. It was also designed as the nodal point within the global change research programmes to guide, organize and evaluate their various project activities. While essentially a scientific effort, the project also assists in formulating policy responses to today’s pressing problems of earth system transformation.