World Climate Research Programme moves towards a new future

World Climate Research Programme moves towards a new future



21 December 2020

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) is to be restructured, building on its 40 years of successful fundamental climate research to face an era where there is an urgent need for solutions to climate challenges in order to address the impacts of climate change on society and all life on Earth.

WCRP’s Joint Scientific Committee made the decision to embrace a new programme structure to support the implementation of the WCRP Strategic Plan 2019 – 2028, which addresses the climate research priorities of the next decade and beyond. The plan was specifically designed with the recognition that many of the challenges that we will face in the future can only be solved in partnership with other programs, each bringing in its own expertise and value.

WCRP restructures

WCRP has built up a deep insight into the functioning of the physical climate system, through decades of international collaboration between thousands of experts across many disciplines. Building on this reputation, fundamental research will remain at the forefront of WCRP's efforts. However, it will be combined with the need to develop climate information for decision-makers on a local to regional scale.

“The new WCRP will have many new faces and facets. It will be more transparent and will have a simpler structure. It will experience enhanced communication and coordination and will build on strong interactions with partners to address the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Detlef Stammer and Helen Cleugh, the chair and vice-chair of the 19-member Joint Scientific Committee. “From the feedback that we have received, we know that WCRP's new structure and its science priorities resonate with both scientific communities and funding agencies.”

The International Science Council, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, and WMO co-sponsor WCRP.

WCRP collaborates with Future Earth

WCRP and Future Earth have taken a first step towards working together in a much more strategic way. The Future Earth and WCRP Joint Statement describes how the organizations will collaborate on joint activities and products, and outlines plans of how to increase their combined global impact. This will include collaboration between the WCRP Core Activities and the Global Research Projects of Future Earth, as well as in the development of five new ambitious WCRP Lighthouse Activities.

WCRP and Future Earth are initiatives that are driven by visions of creating a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient world. WCRP coordinates international climate science to address key research areas that are either too large or too complex to be tackled by a single nation, agency, or scientific discipline. Future Earth develops the knowledge and tools that government, communities, and companies need to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. There have long been areas of synergy between the two initiatives on many levels, but this has largely taken place organically and on an ad hoc basis.

The timing for the closer collaboration aligns with efforts in both organizations to redesign their structures and activities to be more flexible and responsive to the challenges that society faces now and in the next decade.


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