dr. (Sylvia) SI Bergh


I am an associate professor in development management and governance at ISS. I currently combine my position at ISS with the position of senior researcher at the Centre of Expertise on Global Governance at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

Pressing societal issues in which multi-stakeholder and multi-level governance perspectives are needed, are at the heart of what I do. Currently, I am researching the issue of adaptation to heatwaves from a governance perspective. Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense, silently killing thousands of vulnerable people around the world every year. I strongly believe that adaptation to the effects of heatwaves requires collective action at various governance levels. I am also participating in research initiatives on the governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and humanitarian and social accountability.  

Over the past 20 years, I have built up research and policy expertise in the areas of:

  • local governance and decentralisation
  • natural resource management (particularly water and mining)
  • public sector reform

in the Global South, and the Middle East and North Africa region in particular.

The red thread through all my work are citizen-state relations and how they are embedded in the ‘politics of development’. This notion refers to how different types of (local, national, global) authorities and ordinary citizens negotiate over access to services, information, and social justice, often mediated by consultants or other brokers. I am particularly interested in how local actors translate and appropriate – and sometimes resist-  global policy models and tools.

In my research, I am also able to draw on my substantial teaching and thesis supervision experience at BA, MA, and PhD levels in the areas of political science, governance, and public policy & management (including evaluation). This experience allows me to approach the pressing issues of our time from an interdisciplinary perspective and using a range of research methods. Listening to the research needs of actors on the ground, and engaging my extensive networks to disseminate the results and try to influence policy at various governance levels is central in my research. I find it important that my research improves people’s lives.

Are you interested in doing research on these topics with me? I am available to supervise PhD candidates and keen on setting up international research collaborations. Please get in touch at bergh@iss.nl.


International Institute of Social Studies

Associate professor | Academic staff unit
Kortenaerkade 12, 's - Gravenhage

More information


  • Sylvia Bergh (5 October 2023) - Hague University of Applied Sciences Researcher Advances Knowledge in Climate Change [A review of the (potential) implications of climate change for policing practice worldwide]
  • SI (Sylvia) Bergh (6 July 2021) - Integrale actie tegen hittegolven is nu noodzakelijk
  • Sylvia Bergh (1 January 2018) - The redeployment of state power in the Southern Mediterranean: Implications for local governance
  • Sylvia Bergh (1 January 2011) - Interview on the Arab Spring (‘Arabische opstand’)

  • Sylvia Bergh (2018) - The Redeployement of State Power in the Southern Mediterranean - Implications for Local Governance
  • Sylvia Bergh (2016) - Mediterranean Politics (Journal)
  • Sylvia Bergh (2016) - European Journal of Development Research (Journal)
  • Sylvia Bergh & Karin Willemse (2016) - Contemporary Islam (Journal)
  • Sylvia Bergh (2015) - Decentralisation and regional inequalities – evidence from The Netherlands and Morocco
  • Sylvia Bergh & Kees Biekart (2015) - Can (Evaluation) Consultants be Civic Innovators? Exploring the Shift from Auditors to Allies
  • Sylvia Bergh (2015) - SpringerPlus (Journal)
  • Sylvia Bergh (2015) - Cogent Social Sciences (Journal)
  • Sylvia Bergh & Daniele Rossi Doria (2014) - Plus ça change? Observing the Dynamics of Morocco’s ‘Arab Spring’ in the High Atlas
  • Sylvia Bergh & Daniele Rossi Doria (2014) - Plus ça change? Observing the Dynamics of Morocco’s ‘Arab Spring’ in the High Atlas

The Hague Unviersity of Applied Sciences HHS

Start date approval
September 2023
End date approval
September 2026
employment next to my part-time EUR appointment

Global Poverty, Local Solutions

Course Code

General Information

Course Code

Major GDP

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3105 Research Paper Preparation

Course Code

5401 Research Paper

Course Code

Board of Examiners

Course Code

Major GDP

Course Code

Senior researcher, Centre of Expertise on Global Governance

Start date approval
September 2020

News regarding dr. (Sylvia) SI Bergh

Corporate social responsibilty standards for Dutch companies investing in the green hydrogen sector in Morocco

Dr Sylvia Bergh will use the fewllowship to develp a manual on corporate social responsibility standards for Dutch businesses investing in Morocco
Sylvia Bergh

Social accountability in Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon

This book showcases citizen-strategies in three Arab societies to make national authorities more responsive, transparent and effective in their service delivery

'No formalities please!' Broker practices in the municipal governance of Delhi

What is the role of informal intermediaries or brokers in facilitating citizen-state interaction in Delhi, India and how does the government of Delhi respond?
Street in India

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