Future Earth

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Time for a new initiative?At the Rio + 20 conference that took place in the middle of 2012 an initiative known as Future Earth was launched (www.icsu.org/future-earth). This brings together some of the largest social and natural science formations to stimulate sustainability research. Fortunately, the agenda is not limited to climate change and carbon. Although dominated by Europe-based institutions, there is clearly a commitment to incorporate all global regions.

A Transition Team has been established to facilitate integration. One of the first actions has been to hold consultative workshops in different regions with people who seem to be drawn from various sustainability research initiatives. The Africa region workshop took place in Cape Town from 31 October to 2 November 2012. Mark Swilling was invited to participate in a public panel at UCT in the evening on 1 November and contributed to a round table discussion on the way forward at the end of the workshop. There was strong agreement at the workshop that a pan-African platform for coordinating sustainability research was required to engage with the global Future Earth programme.