“Future Earth” Launches Plan for Global Sustainability Research
Future Earth, an emerging international research program with close ties to USGCRP’s mission, has released its plan for solutions-oriented research on global sustainability.
The Strategic Research Agenda 2014 calls for a step-change in research to accelerate sustainable development and address serious environmental, social, and economic threats. The agenda is the product of a year-long global consultation with research communities and stakeholders from business, government, and civil society, as well as an open online survey that received contributions from people in over 70 countries.
The agenda is organized around three themes: 1) understanding how the planet is changing; 2) deploying integrated, interdisciplinary science to address urgent sustainable development needs; and 3) transforming development to be more sustainable in the long term. The eight global sustainability challenges driving the agenda include:
- Delivering water, energy, and food for all
- Decoupling carbon emissions from economic growth
- Safeguarding land, freshwater, and marine natural assets
- Building healthy, resilient, and productive cities
- Promoting sustainable rural futures
- Improving human health by incorporating global change concerns
- Encouraging sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Improving governance and early warning systems to respond to complex future threats
“Science is crucial if we are to address today’s complex, interconnected issues…in the context of climate change,” said Frans Berkhout, Interim Director of Future Earth. Belinda Reyers, Vice Chair of Future Earth’s Science Committee, noted that “[u]sing sustainability challenges, societal needs, and policy priorities to direct our science makes it both more relevant and accessible.”
USGCRP supports Future Earth through scientific participation in and annual funding for its constituent and partner programs, including DIVERSITAS, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, the International Human Dimensions Programme, and the World Climate Research Programme.