News 08.02.2018

3rd German Future Earth Summit "From Knowledge to Action"

3rd German Future Earth Summit:

From Knowledge to Action – What can Global Sustainability Science contribute to urgent policies?

Berlin, 8th of February 2018. For the third time, the German research community and international partners are convening to discuss prospects of research on global sustainability. Organised by the German Committee Future Earth, the Summit features discussions that explore what science can contribute to a policy-making process that succeeds in achieving global sustainability.

Opened by Christiane Joerk, DFG, Martin Visbeck, Chairman German Committee Future Earth and professor at GEOMAR, and Amy Luers, Executive Director Future Earth, the conference will explore a wide range of topics essential for the knowledge to action dialogue on a national level as well as worldwide.

Due to e.g. highly interlinked markets, resource availability and responsibility for future generations, individual nations will be unable to tackle the global challenges alone. International coordination is thus of high importance for the development of more sustainable pathways. International coordination supports synthesis, increases efficiency, as well as the possible impact of scientific results on decision-making. Future Earth’s Knowledge Action Networks (KANs), of which the first once will be fully operational at the end of 2018, will help to coordinate activities in numerous fields of global sustainability, all of which have societal relevance and are interlinked. These fields integrate knowledge domains and actors both horizontally and vertically. They range from topics such as new economic systems and nexus thinking, to climate, ecosystems, labour and lifestyles. It is through the KANs that Future Earth provides both a unique and challenging approach.

Chadia Wannous, Future Earth Development Team Member and Towards A Safer World Network, and introducing the Knowledge Action Network on Health at the German Future Earth Summit, says “this KAN responds to the planetary health concept. It promotes an integrated approach to understanding the links between health and natural systems by bringing together data and knowledge from different disciplines including the medical sector and fields such as climate change, pollution, disease pathogens, vectors, nutrition and food systems and land use and ecosystem services as well as the filed of disasters, extreme weather events to maintain livelihoods and well-being”.


Philip Vergragt, Future Earth Development Team Member and Tellus Institute points out that “there is an urgent need for a more systemic approach to sustainable consumption and production (SSCP). The Knowledge Action Network SSCP, being introduced at the Summit, will create such an innovative environment for research and practice to enable a transformation in theory and practice”.


The third of 8+ Knowledge Action Networks being introduced at the German Future Earth Summit addresses the ocean. Anna Zivian, Future Earth Development Team Member and Ocean Conservancy, says “To preserve ocean health and to address the interacting challenges of climate change, overfishing, acidification, de-oxygenation and pollution, the Knowledge Action Network on the Ocean will pave the way for new understanding and management of this global common good with the help of a sponsor group comprising Future Earth, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission (IOC).”

The potential of partnerships with societal stakeholders will be an additional aspect of the discussion at the 3rd German Future Earth Summit held between practitioners. The expectations that surround these interactions are high and require reflection. Given the tight schedule of existing political frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, it is timely that researcher (1) assess and communicate science generated over the past 20 years, (2) identify and close knowledge gaps, and (3) generate knowledge together with relevant societal actors.

This is why, one of two interactive formats at the heart of the Summit focuses on ‘Managing expectations’ regarding a diversity of sustainability issues. The second format links these debates to the ‘Future Earth Knowledge Action Networks’ and thus connects ambitions of the German and the international scientific community. Altogether these activities will connect actors in the German research community and support them to respond to the world’s biggest societal and environmental problems.


For more information, please visit our conference website where you can find a detailed programme as well as many Research Blog Posts that provide research evidence in a digital format.


About: The German Committee Future Earth acts as a national research advisory board in the field for global sustainability and for issues related to national and international activities within global the research programme Future Earth and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) as well as strategic issues related to e.g. the Belmont Forum, the International Council of Science (ICSU), and the International Social Science Council (ISSC).





Johannes Lundershausen, Secretariat German Committee Future Earth, Email: