In its first decade (1991-2001), DIVERSITAS aimed at developing an international, non-governmental umbrella programme for research projects addressing the inventory, classification, origins, maintenance and loss of biodiversity; and its linkages with ecosystem functioning. The programme contributed - among other things - with key synthesis books and works for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
In its second decade (2002-2011), DIVERSITAS implemented a more integrative and interdisciplinary science plan to strengthen the social and policy relevance of its work. DIVERSITAS reinforced its engagement in policy fora. For instance, it made stronger contributions to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); and played an active leading role in the organisation of a consultation on an International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) that led to the establishment of the International Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in 2012, to mention just a few.
DIVERSITAS implemented its science-policy framework in a set of complementary projects – viz. agroBIODIVERSITY, bioDISCOVERY, bioGENESIS, bioSUSTAINABILITY, ecoHEALTH, ecoSERVICES, freshwaterBIODIVERSITY and the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA).
The projects were transfered to Future Earth in the course of 2014-2015 to sustain the strong integration of biodiversity in the global sustainability research agenda.
DIVERSITAS was one of the partner global environmental change programmes together with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).