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Published: October 22, 2013

Future Earth engagement committee announced

News |

UK scientist Bob Watson will head up the interim engagement committee for Future Earth. The committee will provide strategic guidance to ensure Future Earth bridges the gap between science and society.

"Future Earth aims to provide the scientific knowledge needed for a sustainable world through trans-disciplinary research. We need an Engagement Committee to understand what the key research needs are for the full range of stakeholders," said Watson.


Watson has had a long career bridging science and policy. He was scientific advisor to the White House during the Clinton administration and held the postion of chief scientist at the World Bank. He is currently a vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.


The main roles of the engagement committee are to :

  • provide strategic advice from a user perspective on Future Earth research, engagement, and other activities;
  • support the initial implementation of Future Earth, in particular by supporting its work with stakeholders; and
  • develop recommendations on the roles and responsibilities of the Engagement Committee and advise on the establishment of the full Committee.


The interim committee will work closely with the Science Committee to develop the scientific agenda and ensure that co-design has a prominent role. It will also work with members of the Science and Technology Alliance and the Interim Secretariat of Future Earth to develop the terms of reference for the permanent committee.


“It is absolutely vital for science to work in partnership with government, business and civil society to develop new perspectives and solutions to the great sustainability challenges in energy, climate, food, water and biodiversity. The interim Engagement Committee has a major role to play to ensure that Future Earth delivers on its ambitious agenda," said Frans Berkhout, Interim Director of Future Earth.


The full committee will be developed in the next 18 months.


Interim committee


  • Robert Watson (chair)
  • James V. Griffiths (World Business Council for Sustainable Development)
  • Amy Luers (Director of climate, Skoll Global Threats Fund)
  • Andrew Revkin (New York Times and senior fellow at Pace University)
  • Debra Roberts (Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of eThekwini Municipality (Durban, South Africa)
  • Guido Schmidt-Traub (Director of Sustainable Development Solutions Network)
  • Farooq Ullah (Director of the Stakeholder Forum)



​More information: ICSU


Full list of members of the interim committee.


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IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.

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