GLP News

Regional Governance for Future Earth: the FEMRC Workshop and FEMRC-RAC, Nicosia, Cyprus

The MENA Region[1] is home to some 350 to 500 Million people and is characterized by strong environmental and climatic gradients. Current projections of prospective changes in climatic conditions have identified the MENA Region as a climate change “hot spot”, i.e., a region bound to experience significantly above-average increases in (summer) temperatures and decreases in precipitation in many parts of the region over the next few decades. The expected impacts of these changes are likely to exacerbate ongoing transitions and challenges caused by major and disruptive developments in large parts of the MENA Region.

This situation requires enhanced efforts in understanding current constraints and future prospects of environmental changes in order to devise appropriate measures as contributions to effective mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Future Earth (FE) has been designed to provide the knowledge needed to support transformations towards sustainability. In addressing major sustainability challenges in the MENA Region, FE provides a tangible and adequate framework to achieve significant and lasting progress. In this context, the creation of a FE MENA Regional Center at the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia, Cyprus (FEMRC;, is considered particularly relevant. Regional Centers are considered essential components in FE’s overall governance structure. They are entirely in line with FE’s strive to fully involve the scientific communities, decision makers and stakeholders on all scales, including the regional scale, to co-design and co-implement research of relevance to tackle global environmental changes. The FEMRC is led by its Director Manfred Lange, who is also the Director of the Global Land Project’s (GLP) Regional MENA Node (GLP-RMN).

An important step in creating a regional governance structure is comprised by the formation of a Regional Advisory Committee for the Future Earth MENA Regional Center (FEMRC-RAC) at the Cyprus Institute. At present seven eminent personalities from various institutions in a number of MENA countries have accepted to serve on the FEMRC-RAC, more are expected to come on board soon. A first workshop and the constituting meeting of the FEMRC-RAC will take place in Nicosia, Cyprus on November 15 and 16, 2016. The meeting will feature a number of lectures and wide-ranging discussions by FEMRC-RAC members and other invited participants addressing pressing future research needs in the MENA region that should be addressed with high priority under the aegis of Future Earth. In addition, first internal meetings by the FEMRC-RAC will set the stage for the immediate activities and initiatives to be taken by the FEMRC. The expected outcome of the meeting is a first draft of a Future Earth Science Agenda for the MENA Region that is to be implemented in the foreseeable future.

[1] MENA (Middle East and North Africa), describes the region extending from Morocco to Iran, including all Middle Eastern and Maghreb countries, as well as Cyprus, the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, Israel, Greece and Turkey