During October 2008 the ICSU General Assembly decided that there was a needto outline options for an overall framework for global environmental change research and its policy relevance. Under the leadership of ICSU’s Committee on Scientific Planning and Review, a three-step Earth System visioning process has been launched.
The first step in the process was aweb-based consultation during the latter part of 2009 at http://visioning.icsu.org which posed the questions: “What is the most important research question in Earth system research that needs answering in the next decade? Why?” By registering on the website interested parties were able to receive updates on the progress and results of the Earth system visioning process over the 12 months that followed (i.e. end 2010):
The final, published version of the Grand Challenges document is now available. Also, in a Policy Forum article in the 12 November, 2010 issue of Science, the Visioning team discusses the Grand Challenges in Earth system science for global sustainability. The authors also call for an unprecedented global initiative to deliver the knowledge society needs to simultaneously reduce global environmental risks while also meeting economic development goals.
To read the ICSU Press Release, click here. To access the final version of the Grand Challenges as well as the Science article (no registration required), go to the Grand Challenges page and follow the links.