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Future Earth and DIVERSITAS


Future Earth is an initiative of the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability. Future Earth was launched by the Alliance in June 2012 at Rio + 20. Its ambition is to provide a new and unique integrated framework for global change research. It will build upon existing global change programmes (DIVERSITAS, IGBP, IHDP and WCRP), allowing these programmes and their projects to work better together, in a more integrated manner and with additional funding. The Belmont Collaborative Research Actions (CRA) will generate additional projects which will also become part of Future Earth.

DIVERSITAS considers that a sustainable way of life can only be achieved if all policies fully reflect the importance and values of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Achieving this vision is the key ambition of Future Earth. DIVERSITAS, and its legacy of vibrant projects and active global networks, are therefore playing a central role in the current transition process from current global change programmes (DIVERSITAS, IHDP, IGBP) into a unique Future Earth programme. This move represents the efforts of the global scientific community to mainstream biodiversity, and to provide a scientific basis to discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Since 2012 the Scientific Committee of DIVERSITAS is focusing a large part of its work on the transition strategy to Future Earth. Projects and networks of DIVERSITAS will be moving to Future Earth one by one during 2014. These moves will be accompanied by transformations and/or merging with existing projects. This process of transitioning towards more integrative, trans-disciplinary and policy relevant research priorities represents a natural step, following up on DIVERSITAS efforts in building bridges between natural and social sciences, and with key policy processes, and the publication of the DIVERSITAS vision for biodiversity and ecosystem services science 2012-20 (Larigauderie et al. 2012). DIVERSITAS foresees that its transition should be completed by the end of 2014.  All projects and networks will keep a double label (DIVERSITAS and Future Earth) until Future Earth becomes fully recognised as the home of the biodiversity and ecosystem services science community.

To prepare for this transition, Future Earth is organising a series of webinars involving all projects of the global environmental change family (DIVERSITAS, ESSP, IGBP, IHDP, PECS, and WCRP) to discuss ways to implement the Future Earth research framework and opportunities for joint activities between projects and new activities. Based on this input, the newly nominated Future Earth Scientific Committee, in which the biodiversity and ecosystem services community is well represented, will develop an implementation strategy for this integrative research framework.


Transition phase towards Future Earth

The SC-DIVERSITAS and the SCs of core projects and networks have been providing input into various draft documents related to the definition of the Future Earth vision and governance, and to the role of DIVERSITAS science in this new vision. The biodiversity community represented in the Future Earth Scientific Community (Belinda Reyers, S-Africa (vice-chair), Bradley Cardinale, USA, Sandra Diaz, Argentina, Jane Lubchenco, USA, Eduardo Brondizio, USA) will continue implementing the DIVERSITAS vision as Future Earth develops.

In addition, DIVERSITAS and its projects have developed a transition strategy, which has been provided to the SC-Future Earth for discussion of current situation and way forward.

Scientific Committees of DIVERSITAS' projects discussed research priorities to be developed in the scope of the Future Earth conceptual framework.

Finally, the DIVERSITAS project portfolio was reviewed and restructured :

  • The activities of agroBIODIVERSITY, freshwaterBIODIVERSITY , and bioSUSTAINABILITY (except the urban-related activities) were merged into bioGENESIS, bioDISCOVERY and ecoSERVICES.
  • bioGENESIS, bioDISCOVERY, ecoSERVICES, ecoHEALTH, and GMBA are transitioning towards Future Earth.
  • In 2014, some discussions were still on-going to merge the urban-related activities of bioSUSTAINABILITY with other urban-related activities of the Global Environmental Change programmes. This process would be facilitated by the Future Earth Cluster Activity on urbanisation.

At the closure of DIVERSITAS (31 December 2014) and following up the signature of the Future Earth MoU, the administration of these DIVERSITAS projects were transfered to the Future Earth Secretariat.

The DIVERSITAS projects took leadership roles in the DIVERSITAS science-policy activities, which included contributions to policy processes and fora (e.g. SDGs development, CBD), to assessment mechanisms (e.g. IPBES, GBO), observation mechanisms (e.g. GEO BON, GBIF). In addition, the coordination and facilitation role played by the DIVERSITAS Scientific Committee and Secretariat was transfered to Future Earth and partners of the Alliance for Global Sustainability.

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