ICSU Launches “Future Earth” Platform for Sustainability Research

27 March 2012: The International Council for Science (ICSU) has announced the launch of "Future Earth," an interdisciplinary 10-year initiative that aims to provide a platform to coordinate scientific research that can respond to the most critical social and environmental challenges of the 21st century at global and regional levels.

Future Earth was announced at the 2012 Planet Under Pressure conference, which convened from 26-29 March 2012 in London, UK, and will be officially launched at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) in June 2012. It will become operational in 2013, and aims to deliver solution-oriented research in partnership with society. It, for instance, aims to provide early warning signals of environmental risk and change, and stimulate new research to support the transition of society towards sustainability.

The initiative is jointly supported by the International Social Science Council, Belmont Forum of funding agencies, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN University. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an observer.

According to ICSU, the initiative was borne out of the three-year ICSU-led Earth System Visioning process, a consultation with researchers and research users, which identified options for a unified approach to Earth system research for global sustainability. [ICSU Press Release]