What is global change and ecosystems?
The research on global change and ecosystems has to be considered as a major support to the EU strategy for Sustainable Development which has been decided in 2001 at Göteborg and which has been enlarged to an international scale in the context of the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development (SD) in 2002. The programme of activity offered by the Sub-Priority "Global Change and Ecosystems" will strengthen the necessary scientific knowledge for the future orientation of the SD strategy and the 6th Environment Action Programme. It will also provide the socio-economic tools and assessments and the overall management practices. Furthermore it will ensure their implementation at the enlarged EU level and, when relevant, at the world level.
More specifically, the objectives of the "Global Change and Ecosystems" sub-priority are:
To strengthen the capacity to understand, detect and forecast global change and develop strategies for prevention, mitigation and adaptation, in close liaison with the relevant international research programmes and in the context of relevant conventions;
To preserve ecosystems and protect biodiversity which would also contribute to the sustainable use of land and marine resources. With regard to global change, the strategies for integrated, sustainable management of agricultural and forest ecosystems are of particular importance for the preservation of these ecosystems and will contribute substantially to the sustainable development of Europe.
These objectives will be best achieved through activities aiming at the development of common integrated approaches necessary to implement sustainable development, taking into account its environmental, economic and social aspects, as well as the impact of global change on all countries and regions of the world. It will foster the convergence of European and national research efforts for common definitions of thresholds of sustainability and estimation methods, and encourage international co-operation in order to achieve common strategies to respond to global change issues.
The "Global Change and Ecosystems" sub-priority is addressing seven research areas further subdivided into sub-areas and complemented by a cross-cutting Sustainable Development dimension horizontal to these areas and Specific Support Actions (as summarised in the following table):
||Impact on mechanisms of greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric pollutants on climate, ozone depletion and carbon sinks |
||Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles: sources and sinks |
||Atmospheric pollutants and their regional impacts |
||Climate dynamics and variability |
||Prediction of climatic change and its impacts |
||Stratospheric ozone and climate interactions |
||Adaptation and mitigation strategies |
||Water cycle, including soil-related aspects |
||Hydrology and climate processes |
||Ecological impact of global change, soil functioning and water quality |
||Integrated management strategies and mitigation technologies |
||Scenarios of water demand and availability |
||Biodiversity and ecosystems |
||Assessing and forecasting changes in biodiversity, structure, function and dynamics of ecosystems and their services, with emphasis on marine ecosystems functioning |
||Relationships between society, economy, biodiversity and habitats |
||Integrated assessment of drivers affecting ecosystems functioning and biodiversity, and mitigation options |
||Risk assessment, management, conservation and rehabilitation options in relation to terrestrial and marine ecosystems |
||Mechanisms of desertification and natural disasters |
||Mechanisms of desertification |
||Natural Disasters |
||Strategies for sustainable land management, including coastal zones agricultural land and forests |
||Sustainable use of land |
||Qualitative and quantitative aspects of multi-functionality of agriculture and forestry/wood chain |
||Operational forecasting and modelling including global climatic change observation systems |
||Development of observing and forecasting systems |
||Complementary research |
||Development of advanced methodologies for risk assessment |
||Appraisal of environmental quality, population health and monitoring tools |
||Cross-cutting issue: Sustainable Development concepts and tools |
||Estimating thresholds of sustainability and externalities |
||Developing tools for integrated sustainability assessment and for the incorporation of sustainability in decision making processes |
|Specific Support Actions
In order to assemble a critical mass of resources helping to integrate and strengthen the European Research Area, the new instruments - Networks of Excellence (NoE) and Integrated Projects (IP) - will be widely used. These new instruments complemented by Specific Targeted Research Projects (STREPs), Co-ordination Actions (CA) and Specific Support Actions (SSA) will be implemented by means of three calls for proposals with a total indicative budget of 769 EUR million. An additional call continuously open until 2005 will cover the Specific Support Actions.
For a detailed description of the topics open for proposals, please refer to the specific call information and Work Programme available here.
"Global Change and Ecosystems" activities will develop on the results capitalised along the four key-actions, generic activities and support to research infrastructures funded during the 5th Framework Programme as part of the Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD) Programme. As most of these activities will only be completed during the period 2003-2006, your are kindly invited to refer regularly to this site. In addition to relevant information on those activities continuing during the 6th Framework Programme, you will find also up-to-date information on other past research activities aiming at sustainable development that are not continued with the same level of intensity in FP6, i.e.: some specific aspects relating to 'Sustainable Management and Quality of Water' (such as socio-economic aspects of sustainable use of water, combating diffuse pollution and pollution surveillance and control); Technological Hazards and generic activities on Earth Observation; and 'Urban sustainability and Cultural Heritage' research activities.