Future Earth and WCRP announce partnership to jointly address major societal challenges


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The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and Future Earth are initiatives that are driven by visions of creating a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient world. WCRP coordinates international climate science to address key research areas that are either too large or too complex to be tackled by a single nation, agency, or scientific discipline. Future Earth develops the knowledge and tools that government, communities, and companies need to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. There have long been areas of synergy between the two initiatives on many levels, but this has largely taken place organically and on an ad hoc basis.

As we enter the decade where climate action is of critical importance, both WCRP and Future Earth have taken a first step towards working together in a much more strategic way. The Future Earth and WCRP Joint Statement describes how the organizations will collaborate on joint activities, convening, and products and outlines plans of how to increase their combined global impact. This will include collaboration between the WCRP Core Projects (1) and the Global Research Projects of Future Earth (2), as well as in the development of five new ambitious WCRP Lighthouse Activities. The timing for this effort aligns with efforts in both organizations to redesign their structures and activities to be more flexible and responsive to the challenges that society faces now and in the next decade.

Detlef Stammer, Chair of the WCRP Joint Scientific Committee, explains that the Future Earth and WCRP Joint Statement is an important step because “solutions to societal issues related to climate variability and change are complex and physical processes are intertwined with social and economic aspects in ways that we need to better understand. Partnering with Future Earth is an excellent opportunity to build collaborations, for the good of mitigation and adaptation strategies and for sustainable development as a whole.”

“Future Earth and WCRP already have a strong history of collaboration,” says Josh Tewksbury, Interim Executive Director for Future Earth. “Formalizing and scaling up this partnership will enable more impactful research at a time when the world is waking up to the planetary emergency driven by compounding environmental crises.”

The full text of the statement can be found here, with previous collaborations between WCRP and Future Earth listed here.


(1) WCRP Core Projects or ‘Homes’ are Climate and Cryosphere (CliC), Climate and Ocean Variability, Predictability and Change (CLIVAR), Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX), Stratosphere-troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate (SPARC), Earth System Modelling and Observational Capabilities, and Regional Climate Information for Societies.

(2) Relevant Global Research Projects of Future Earth include Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES), Global Carbon Project (GCP), Past Global Changes (PAGES), The international Surface Ocean – Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) and International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC).

About Future Earth

Launched in 2015, Future Earth is a global network of scientists, researchers, and innovators collaborating for a more sustainable planet. With a focus on systems-based approaches that deepen our understanding of complex Earth systems and human dynamics across different disciplines, Future Earth works to advance critical sustainability science that underpins evidence-based policies and strategies for sustainable development.

About WCRP

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) leads the way in addressing frontier scientific questions related to the coupled climate system — questions that are too large and too complex to be tackled by a single nation, agency or scientific discipline. Through international science coordination and partnerships, WCRP contributes to advancing our understanding of the multi-scale dynamic interactions between natural and social systems that affect climate. WCRP-supported research provides the climate science that underpins the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including national commitments under the Paris Agreement of 2015, and contributes to the knowledge that supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and multilateral environmental conventions.

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