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Future Earth interim secretariat closes

The interim secretariat was established in July 2013 under the direction of Professor Frans Berkhout. Based at the offices of the International Council for Science (ICSU) in Paris, France, the interim secretariat was established to implement the Future Earth programme, building on the work of the ‘Transition Team’ which developed the initial design. It comprised a small dedicated team, together with staff contributions from ICSU and other members and partners of Future Earth’s governing council, the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability, and from the secretariats of the existing global environmental change programmes.

The interim secretariat has been responsible for getting Future Earth started by supporting the work of the Science Committee and the interim Engagement Committee, facilitating the transition of existing projects and programmes into Future Earth and broadening Future Earth’s engagement with new communities of stakeholders. It also supported the appointment of the Engagement Committee and establishment of the permanent Future Earth Secretariat. One of the lasting legacies of this period has been the creation of the Future Earth website, launched in March 2014 by ICSU and interim secretariat staff, and the Future Earth blog which was launched by ICSU as the interim secretariat was formed.

“Future Earth is a visionary project to do more connected science about global change and through this to shape transformations to sustainability. It’s been a great honour for us in the interim secretariat to work with many people around the world to make Future Earth a reality. It’s also been inspiring and fun! Having got the show on the road, we are delighted to be able to hand over to Paul Shrivastava and the rest of his team. Given the resources, Future Earth can be a game-changer,” Frans Berkhout said.

Dr Paul Shrivastava, who was appointed Executive Director of Future Earth in February 2015, said

“I would like to thank Frans and the team for the great job they’ve done in getting Future Earth operational over the last two years. They now hand over to a growing international team in the globally distributed secretariat, and we aim to maintain the strong relationships they’ve built with the community of global environmental change projects and programmes and build on the momentum they’ve created around Future Earth.”

“Setting up the interim Secretariat of Future Earth has brought a new dynamic to ISCU, and ICSU staff have been closely involved from the get-go. On behalf of all of the members of the Future Earth Governing Council, I’d like to thank Frans and the interim Secretariat team for their work, as well as thanking the ICSU team who have made a huge contribution to the success of the programme, and who will continue to support Future Earth,” said Heide Hackmann, Executive Director of ICSU.

Activities undertaken by the interim Secretariat are now being managed by a globally distributed team that was selected to host the Future Earth Secretariat following a competitive bidding process. The Secretariat, announced in July 2014, comprises five global hubs which will function as a single entity, and are located in Canada (Montreal), France (Paris), Japan (Tokyo), Sweden (Stockholm) and the United States (Colorado). Regional structures are also being developed to ensure broader geographical representation and global diversity in the running of Future Earth. The Secretariat performs the day-to-day management of Future Earth, ensuring coordination across themes, projects, regions and committees, and liaising with key stakeholders at regional, national and local levels.