Establishment of ‘Future Earth’ South Asia Regional Hub

Location: Divecha Centre for Climate Change

Gaurav Govardhan*


AS Kiran Kumar, Secretary, Department of Space, and Chairman, ISRO, addressing scientists during the inaugural session of the ‘Future Earth’ meeting. Inset, left: SK Satheesh, Chairman, Divecha Centre for Climate Change. Inset, right: AS Kiran Kumar, Anurag Kumar (Director, IISc), and M Rajeevan (Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences). (Courtesy: The Divecha Centre for Climate Change)

The South Asia regional hub of Future Earth, an international programme on global environmental change and sustainability supported by agencies including UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme, will be set up at the Divecha Centre for Climate Change, IISc. This was announced at an event held at the Centre on 9 July 2016.

Future Earth, which brings under its fold many existing international programmes including the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme and the World Climate Research Programme, has five global hubs, or secretariats, that are located in Canada, France, Japan, Sweden and the United States. These secretariats are complemented by regional hubs spread across the globe. The regional hub for South Asia will now be established at the Divecha Centre. “The South Asia regional hub,” SK Satheesh, Chairperson of the Divecha Centre, said, “is an autonomous research platform that promotes scientific cooperation between India and neighbouring countries in Future Earth related activities. The regional hub will ensure that regional priorities are made part of the strategic development of Future Earth activities.”

“The vision of Future Earth is ‘Science for the People’ and requires solutions-oriented research that responds to the challenges faced by the society due to global environmental change in collaboration with various research partners, decision-makers in government, the private sector and civil society,” he added. In accordance with this spirit, the event was attended by more than 70 scientists from various government organizations, national laboratories and academic institutions, including Anurag Kumar, Director, IISc and AS Kiran Kumar, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, ISRO, and M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences.

The brainstorming session during the meeting saw discussions on some tentative selected topics which are relevant to the South Asian region, such as the impacts of climate change on the monsoon, extreme weather, water security, food security, air quality, and renewable energy. The regional hub will soon organize its first workshop to take this forward. “Thematic working groups, or task teams, will be established soon after this workshop,” said Satheesh. “The mandate of this hub/office is to integrate the available information and develop strategic knowledge and region-specific strategies to tackle and face consequences of climate change,” he added.

*Gaurav Govardhan is a PhD student at the Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and the Divecha Centre for Climate Change.