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Future Earth Interim Engagement Committee announced

Robert Watson will chair the committee, which will provide strategic guidance to Future Earth on how to engage stakeholders and ensure that the Future Earth science agenda is informed by user perspectives. It will also work on the establishment of the permanent Engagement Committee.

Future Earth announced today the establishment of an interim Engagement Committee with seven members who will work on connecting Future Earth science with 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.

The main roles of the 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.

Interim Engagement Committee

Robert Tony Watson – Chair

Robert Watson was a Ph.D student at London University; a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and University of Maryland before becoming a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. After that he became a program manager/director at NASA; a scientific advisor in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House; a scientific advisor, manager and chief scientist at the World Bank; the chief scientific advisor to the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Currently he is Professor of Environmental Sciences and strategic director for the Tyndall Center at the University of East Anglia, and the Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University. He has  chaired, co-chaired or directed national and international scientific, technical and economic assessments on stratospheric ozone depletion, biodiversity and ecosystems, climate change, and agricultural science and technology. He is currently a vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

James V. Griffiths

James has worked in the public and private sectors, operating at both national and international levels, as a government regulator; industrial policy and international trade advisor; university assistant lecturer; diplomat and trade commissioner; forest products marketer; and, for the past decade, as a business sector advocate on sustainable development.

James joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in 2002 based in Geneva – a CEO-led organization of forward thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. His primary responsibilities are to manage the Council’s Natural Capital platform, a multi-sector program of leading international companies addressing risks and opportunities associated with ecosystem impacts and dependence and the development of public policy and business solutions.

James serves on the Steering Committees of numerous other initiatives including the Growing Forest Partnerships initiative of The World Bank, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Amy Luers

Amy Luers is the Director of Climate at the Skoll Global Threats Fund, where she oversees the climate and water initiatives. Previously, she was the Senior Environment Program Manager at Google, where she co-led the development of a series of initiatives focused on information and communication technology for climate risk management. She co-founded Agua Para La Vida, an NGO dedicated to bringing potable water to rural communities of Latin America.Her research and publications have focused on vulnerability and resilience, climate impacts and adaptation, and climate policy. In 2013, Dr. Luers was selected as an inaugural Bellagio/Poptech Fellow on Big Data and System Resilience. She is a member of the Geographical Sciences Committee for the US National Research Council and was a lead author of the Sustained Assessment Report for the National Climate Assessment. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental science and an M.A. in international policy studies, both from Stanford University.

Andrew Revkin

Andrew Revkin is the Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University’s Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies and writes the award-winning Dot Earth blog for the opinion section of The New York Times. He has spent three decades covering subjects ranging from the assault on the Amazon rain forest to the changing conditions around the Arctic, from the troubled relationship of climate science and politics to the environmental impacts of rising human populations and resource appetites. From 1995 through 2009, he covered the environment for The Times as a staff reporter.

At Pace, he teaches courses on blogging, environmental-science communication and documentary video with a focus on sustainable development.

He has won numerous awards for science journalism, including two communications awards from the National Academy of Sciences, two journalism awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Investigative Reports & Editors Award and the John Chancellor Award for sustained journalistic excellence from Columbia University. He has written books on global warming, the changing Arctic and the fight to save the Amazon rain forest.

Debra Roberts

Dr. Debra Roberts established and heads the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of eThekwini Municipality (Durban, South Africa). She is a lead author of Chapter 8 (Urban Areas) and a contributing author to Chapter 12 (Africa) of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. She is also a member of the South African climate negotiating team. She sits on various international advisory bodies focused on climate change issues in cities (e.g. the Rockefeller Foundation’s Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network). In addition Dr. Roberts was vice-chair of UN-Habitat’s HS-NET Advisory Board which oversaw the production of the 2011 “Cities and Climate Change” Global Report. Most recently she and 60 other international experts were convened by the King of Bhutan to work on the preparation of “The New Development Paradigm Report”. She is also a founding member of the Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity for All.

Guido Schmidt-Traub

Guido Schmidt-Traub is Executive Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He also serves as climate change advisor to the Africa Progress Panel secretariat. Previously he was CEO of Paris-based CDC Climat Asset Management, an investment company regulated by the French financial markets regulator, and Partner at South Pole Carbon Asset Management in Zurich, a leading developer of greenhouse gas emission projects. Prior to managing the MDG Support Team at UNDP (2006-2008) he served as Policy Advisor and then as Associate Director of the UN Millennium Project in New York, which was tasked with developing an action plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Earlier Guido was Partner at IndexIT Scandinavia, a private equity fund for early-stage technology companies, and consultant at McKinsey & Company. Guido holds an M.Phil. in Economics from Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar) and a Masters in physical chemistry from the Free University Berlin.

Farooq Ullah

Farooq Ullah is Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum since September 1, 2012. He joined Stakeholder Forum as Head of Policy and Advocacy in September 2011. Before this, Farooq was at the UK Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) for nearly five years. Farooq worked on strategic assessment at the SDC. In all, Farooq has nine years of public sector experience at international, national and local government levels, with a further three years of private sector consultancy experience. Currently, Farooq is a Specialist Advisor to the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee and a member of the Alliance for Future Generations. In addition, he is a founding member of Brighter Future, a climate change action group in London. Farooq holds a BComm in Management Science from the University of Alberta and an MSc in Public Policy from the London School of Economics.

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