Second German Future Earth Summit

The Second German Future Earth Summit attracted about 280 scientists from a wealth of disciplines who discussed cross-cutting themes in sustainability research and used the opportunity to network.

The summit took place from 28 to 29 January in Berlin, organised by the German Committee of Future Earth (Deutsches Komitee fuer Nachhaltigkeitsforschung in Future Earth). It attracted researchers from social sciences, natural sciences, humanities and engineering, as well as funders, policy makers and media.

Whereas the first summit in 2014 was centred on the three Future Earth themes “Dynamic Planet”, “Global Sustainable Development” and “Transformations towards Sustainability”, this year’s conference focused on cross-cutting topics. The aim was to discuss methods and concepts of research, standards and metrics of evaluation, data analysis, and more. The five main themes of the conference were “Observing, monitoring and data systems“, „Earth system modeling and social macrodynamics“, „Metrics and evaluation for human-well being and sustainable development“, „Theory and method development“ and „Science-society interface“. Clarifying the framework and methodologies behind the major research themes is particularly relevant for measuring progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The conference was opened by a panel discussion centred on the questions “Which role does science play for societal transformations?” and “Is science ready to support a policy of sustainability?”. The panel consisted of Dr. Joerg Mayer-Ries from the German Ministry of Environment, Theresa Bauer from the Ministry of Science in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Christian Berg from the German Section of the Club of Rome, Anita Engels from CliSAP and Guy Brasseur from the Climate Service Centre in Hamburg.

Future Earth Executive Director Paul Shrivastava gave a presentation about implementing the research agenda on national, regional and international level. The Early Career Scientists of Future Earth in Germany took an active role during the conference by giving speeches and organizing workshops. Representatives from different private foundations, the Ministry for Science and Research, the German Research Foundation DFG, and the European Commission discussed about funding of sustainability research. A series of side events, a world café and a poster competition rounded out the two-day event.

The results of the summit will be published in a report by the end of April.