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Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research

Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research

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Fifth ICSU Regional Consultation in Asia and the Pacific

image2The ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP) organised the fifth Regional Consultation in Asia and the Pacific on 26 and 27 November in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

The main purpose of this consultation is to provide ICSU members and other stakeholders in Asia and the Pacific an opportunity to exchange views on Future Earth in the region. It aims to further enhance the understanding of Future Earth, especially in relation to promoting transdisciplinary integrative on-the-ground research that can point towards transformative pathways to global sustainability. The meeting will also explore the crosscutting capabilities needed to support Future Earth research in the region, as well as the means of funding and implementation of a programme to enhance those capabilities.

The morning session of Day 1 covers an overview of Future Earth that includes the background, its global research framework and governance, as well as achievements to date. Breakout sessions in the afternoon addressed 1) “Transformation towards sustainability,” and 2) “Future Earth in Asia and the Pacific: Crosscutting capabilities and funding strategy.”

Discussion of breakout session 1 is summarised as follows:

  • Transformation is understood as a process of altering the fundamental attributes of a system, including in this case structures and institutions, infrastructures, regulatory systems, financial regimes, as well as attitudes and practices, lifestyles, policies and power relations.
  • This break-out group frames core research questions that would examine pathways to sustainability through:
    • adaptation in governance and decision-making institutions and processes;
    • transformations in economic means and measures of development;
    • ensuring development stays within planetary boundaries;
    • organisation of facilities providing services that enhance the crosscutting capabilities of nations aimed at supporting the transformation to sustainability.

For session 2, the following key messages are noted:

  • Many crosscutting capabilities are required to advance the science of global environmental change and translate it into useful knowledge for decision making and sustainable development. Many of these capabilities lie beyond the boundaries of the Future Earth initiative per se but it is important that Future Earth works in partnership with the providers of these capabilities for mutual benefit.
  • Future Earth also is going to need to secure support from many different funding sources, including organisations that are not currently funding global environmental change research, if it were to deliver on its ambition. This will require current levels of GEC funding to be scaled-up significantly to deliver on international, scientifically integrated collaborative research.

This breakup group focuses on the following points;

  • Identify what crosscutting capabilities are needed to respond to the grand challenges of global sustainability;
  • For each identified capability need, the challenge is how to establish strategic partnerships and build crosscutting capabilities in countries in need and with the providers of the capabilities.
  • It is necessary to develop funding strategies to enable crosscutting capability building activities in the region.

By: Akio Takemoto, Director, APN Secretariat