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  • IGBP and Earth observation:
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    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .
Published: November 4, 2014

Three decades in Sweden celebration

Venue: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Date: 20 October 2014

Time:  6.30-9.00pm

News |

On 20 October IGBP held an event to celebrate our three decades in Sweden.

For almost three decades, the home of IGBP’s international office has been in Stockholm at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


On 20 October, we held an event at the academy to celebrate this anniversary. The event coincided with the annual meeting of the IGBP Officers (our executive committee), this year held in the Swedish capital.


The IGBP community and supporters from funding agencies and government joined us for an evening where we discussed our achievements and legacy as IGBP prepares to transition to the new Future Earth initiative.


Indeed, representatives from the new Future Earth global hubs also attended the event. They were meeting in Stockholm to finalise plans for the transition to the permanent secretariat.


IGBP’s first director Thomas Rosswall described the early workings of the secretariat. Effective international communication was one of the first challenges. Back in 1986 email was a strange curiosity to be treated with scepticism and suspicion. Email addresses were the length of your arm. How things have changed.   

Chair James Syvitski and Executive Director Sybil Seitzinger.​


Current Executive Director Sybil Seitzinger opened the event. She spoke of her first interactions with IGBP and how IGBP’s global perspective helped shape her career.


Current Chair James Syvitski from the University of Colorado, Boulder, took to the floor and discussed how IGBP’s syntheses helped shape concepts such as the Anthropocene and planetary stewardship.


Anders Granlund, Sida’s lead policy specialist for climate and environment has been a long-time supporter of IGBP. He challenged Future Earth to do more engage the global south. This is where international capacity must be built and retained. Anders Turesson, senior advisor to the Swedish Government spoke of the value to policymakers of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has close ties to IGBP. Swedish meteorologist Bert Bolin was instrumental in creating both.


IGBP’s deputy director Wendy Broadgate invited guests to speak about their own experiences with IGBP. Secretariat staff and scientists past and present offered personal reflections on their time with IGBP including atmospheric physicist Henning Rodhe, former chief climate negotiator to Sweden Bo Kjellen and Dennis Ojima from Colorado State University. Ojima is now part of the Colorado hub of Future Earth but began his career as a scientist in the first IGBP secretariat back in 1986.


In December 2015, IGBP will host a legacy event at the American Geophysical Union meeting, San Franscico to officially mark the end of the IGBP secretariat. IGBP’s projects will transition fully to Future Earth at that time.

Deputy Director of Social Sciences Karen Smyth and IGBP Officer
Pauline Dube.

(Left to right) IGBP's first Executive Director Thomas Rosswall, IGBP Officer Arthur Chen and IGBP's fourth Executive Director Kevin Noone.

Dennis Ojima from Colorado State University.

IGBP deputy director of natural sciences Wendy Broadgate (left) and former deputy director Beatriz Baliño.

Former science editor Suzanne Nash travelled from France to attend the event.

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

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