Background: Félix Pharand-Deschênes, Globaïa

Reflections on a three-decade legacy

News |

The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) will come to a close at the end of this year after three decades of fostering international collaborative research and synthesis on global change.

The organisation’s legacy is embodied in its scientific publications; the workshops and conferences it organised; the close interaction it fostered with policy and assessment processes such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and its innovative approaches to communication and outreach. It will leave behind a strong record in building networks as well as enhancing research capacity around the world.
The IGBP Secretariat, which has been housed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (RSAS) in Stockholm for over 25 years, will vacate its offices at the end of this year. The IGBP website will not be updated from the 27th of November. However, it will remain accessible until 2026. An electronic archive of important documents will be available with our sponsor, the International Council for Science (ICSU). A hard copy archive will be held at the RSAS.
IGBP’s projects and networks will of course continue into the future. Many sub-communities have already transitioned to Future Earth, which marks a step change in the ways in which global-change research will be designed, produced and communicated.
Many individuals and organisations have contributed to IGBP’s success over the years. While it is impossible to thank them all individually here, we owe each of them a huge debt of gratitude. We acknowledge the tremendous efforts of the thousands of scientists that devoted their time to IGBP on a voluntary basis since its inception. In particular, we would like to thank Chair James Syvitski, members of our Scientific Committee and our national committees. We would also like to thank past chairs, executive directors and committee members.
IGBP would not have been the organisation it is without the work of past and present Secretariat staff. Particular thanks go to our longest standing member of staff, Charlotte Wilson, who has held together the office and staff with her dedication and diligence since she joined in 1999.
We wish all of our core projects the best in their future endeavours, and we wish Future Earth all the best as it embarks on its ambitious voyage.

Figure 1

Timeline of some of the most significant events in the history of IGBP and other global-change programmes. The start and end dates of projects are based on project reports and websites and IGBP documents.