Global News

Welcome to our October 2020 round-up of new publications! This list, updated each week, contains articles relevant to mountain research that you won't want to miss this month.

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Future Earth is an international platform for research, innovation, and collaboration, working to accelerate transformations to a sustainable world. Among its many functions and activities, it also fosters strategic partnerships with international organizations that support this mission, such as the Mountain Research Initiative, with whom a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2016.

In the below article – originally published on the Future Earth website – the Interim Executive Director of Future Earth, Josh Tewksbury, reflects on Future Earth’s activities in response to global grand challenges, and offers an outlook on what can be expected from the organisation in view of its current leadership and institutional transition. This follows from the recent Future Earth Summit, which took place virtually between 15-17 June 2020, to review the relationship between the Future Earth Secretariat, advisory, and governing structures and the Future Earth community, which includes the MRI. Future Earth has a microsite available, in which regular updates regarding this transition process are published. Take a look here.

The International Science Council (ISC) is seeking nominations for the first edition of the ISC Awards Programme. 

The deadline for nominations is 1 February 2021. 

At the 2020 Albert Mountain Awards ceremony in Bern, the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF was recognized for its outstanding contribution to avalanche prevention. Other recipients of the 2020 awards were the magazine L'Alpe and the Swiss musician Christian Zehnder. 

The King Albert I Memorial Foundation Albert Mountain Awards take place every two years, and are granted to people and institutions that have made exceptional and lasting contributions to the preservation of the mountains of the world – whether through research, conservation, development, arts and culture, or mountaineering.

Mobilizing global sustainable science action is imperative if we are to realize the 2030 Agenda. The International Science Council is currently running a call for inputs to shape a priority action agenda for science. Deadline for participation is 2 October 2020

With just ten years to go to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, science funders from around the world have asked the International Science Council (ISC) to convene the insights and ideas of the broader global scientific community on the critical priorities for science that will support and enable societies to accomplish the goals by 2030. The ISC is looking to hear from scientists in all fields and all disciplines, including the natural, social, and human sciences.

As part of the MRI's mission to promote global change mountain research, we are excited to bring visibility to the six projects that form the Belmont Forum’s ‘Mountains as Sentinels of Change’ program by highlighting a different one each month.

What are the key factors that enabled a successful water fund in Colombia to work with over 1000 families to protect more than 2000 km of streams and conserve or restore nearly 10,000 ha of forest – even in the broader context of armed conflict and widespread distrust? This month's featured project from the Belmont Forum's 'Mountains as Sentinels of Change' program is ClimateWIse. Read this blog post – first published on The Nature Conservancy's 'Cool Green Science' website – for a glimpse into their activities.

Despite encouraging progress in several areas, the natural world is suffering badly and getting worse. Eight transformative changes are urgently needed to ensure human well-being and save the planet, the UN warns in a major report. 

The report comes as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges people to rethink their relationship with nature, and to consider the profound consequences to their own wellbeing and survival that can result from continued biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystems.

Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are at record levels, and emissions that saw a temporary decline due to the pandemic are heading towards pre-COVID levels, while global temperatures continue to hit new highs. This is according to a major new report highlighting the increasing and irreversible impacts of climate change, and their significant implications for life on Earth. The report also features key messages on the cryosphere, taken from the IPCC SROCC, to which the MRI community contributed.

Climate change has not stopped for COVID19. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at record levels and continue to increase. Emissions are heading in the direction of pre-pandemic levels following a temporary decline caused by the lockdown and economic slowdown. The world is set to see its warmest five years on record – in a trend which is likely to continue - and is not on track to meet agreed targets to keep global temperature increase well below 2 °C or at 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

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