Future Earth is a 10-year initiative on earth system research involving various ICSU programmes (Diversitas, IGBP, WCRP, ESSP and IHDP) and partners and the funding agencies represented in the Belmont Forum. ICSU initially developed a strategic framework for earth system research in the context of the 2010 ICSU Grand Challenges for research and the Belmont Challenge. Future Earth has emerged from this and was launched at Rio +20.
The Future Earth Initial Design was published in late 2013, providing an overview; research framework; organisational design; initial strategic views of communication, engagement, education, capacity building and funding; and a roadmap to implementation. Annexes give more detailed analysis and rationales for the different elements.
The initial research themes are:
- Dynamic planet — understanding how planet Earth is changing due to natural phenomena and human activities, looking at environmental and societal trends, drivers and processes and their interactions, as well as anticipating global thresholds and risks.
- Global development — providing knowledge on human and environmental impacts on human health and needs including food, water, biodiversity, energy, materials, and other ecosystem functions and services.
- Transformations towards sustainability — providing the knowledge for transformations toward a sustainable future, with an emphasis on solution-oriented science to support global sustainability.