MRI News

The American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting will be held from 7–11 April 2021. Attendees including geographers, GIS specialists, environmental scientists, and other leaders will share and discuss the latest in research and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIScience. 

Abstract submission is now open and the deadline for all submissions is 19 February 2021. 

On 14 October, during the Belmont Forum’s first ever virtual plenary, the Mountain Research Initiative was voted in as the Forum’s newest partner organization.

Established in 2009, the Belmont Forum is a partnership of funding organizations, international science councils, and regional consortia committed to the advancement of transdisciplinary science. The Belmont Forum’s operations are guided by the Belmont Challenge, a vision document that encourages international transdisciplinary research that provides knowledge for understanding, mitigating, and adapting to global environmental change. 

From 17 to 28 August, over 250 experts from 50 countries joined 20 virtual meetings to continue preparations for the IPCC Working Group (WG) II contribution to the sixth assessment report (AR6), which includes a Cross-Chapter Paper on Mountains. The virtual meetings were convened as a means to continue the report writing momentum despite COVID-19 restrictions, and bring the lead author team together to discuss and coordinate their contributions in the lead-up to the submission of the Second Order Draft (SOD) of the report, due 6 November 2020.

Over 250 scientists and experts in the fields of climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability met virtually from 17 to 28 August 2020 to advance work on the contribution of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).  The aim of the virtual meetings was to ensure coherence across the entire report and to facilitate such coordination across chapters so that all report objectives are met, despite the enormous challenges authors and scientists are facing in the current COVID-19 crisis, according to a press release issued by the IPCC in the lead up to these virtual meetings.

Last month, over 1,200 participants registered and connected from 37 different countries to participate in the inaugural virtual conference on 'Climate Change, Health and Mountain Ecosystems and their Governance in Support of Sustainable Development in the Tropical Andes Region - Central America (Andes +)', hosted by the Cluster of Cooperation Conéctate A+ network. The conference was a key opportunity to connect and foster a virtual dialogue and exchange, despite these challenging times for research and collaboration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within the framework of the Conéctate A+ network – and facilitated by CONDESAN, the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) and the University of Zurich – the online conference took place over two days from 7 to 8 July 2020. The objective of this conference was to facilitate an exchange between relevant disciplinary and interdisciplinary researchers, and showcase evidence of practices that help overcome barriers that impede the successful implementation of policies in favour of sustainable development, human health, ecosystem protection, and adaptation to climate change in the Andes+ region. Through this event, the Conéctate A+ network sought to promote prospects and ideas for collaboration, advance current knowledge debates, and stocktake and showcase the accumulated experience on the conference topics among the different communities of practice in the Andes+ region.

To encourage the next generation of mountain scientists to participate in the IPCC’s important work, the MRI has collaborated with several partners to organize two group reviews of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) specifically for early career researchers (ECRs). To date, these joint efforts have resulted in the submission of over 3,000 review comments to the IPCC by over 200 ECRs.

Most researchers are familiar with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, but the processes leading to these assessments may seem distant. Who are the experts producing them? What kind of workflows lead to them? And who is experienced enough to submit review comments to draft versions? In order to address these and other such questions, since 2018 the MRI has been actively involved in building the capacity of the next generation of mountain experts, offering a glimpse behind the scenes and helping ECRs to understand and engage in IPCC processes.

MRI, alongside the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), the Past Global Changes Early Career Network (PAGES ECN), the Permafrost Young Research Network (PYRN) and the Young Earth System Scientists (YESS) community, are calling for early career researchers to participate in a group review of the Second Order Draft (SOD) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

The WGII contribution to the IPCC AR6 is due to be finalized in 2021. The SOD of the IPCC AR6 WGII report will be open for expert review from 4 December 2020 to 29 January 2021.

In the past weeks GEO-GNOME has been actively connecting with the Group on Earth Observations' flagship activity Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) by participating and presenting at the recent GEO BON Open Science Conference and All Hands Meeting. In the closing session of the conference, the five grantees under the GEO BON - Microsoft Call “EBVs on the cloud” were announced, with GEO-GNOME among them. The grant provides funding and computing capacity to further develop ecosystem level Essential Biodiversity Variables for mountains. 

This year’s GEO Symposium was held virtually between the 15-19 June 2020, with many of the topics discussed having relevance for both the Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments (GEO-GNOME) and the mountain research community as a whole.

In this article, a brief overview of selected recent developments and emerging trends is given; video recordings of the full presentations can be viewed here (click on the "more details" button for each session).

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