The three Swedish Resilience Alliance members (the Centre for Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (CTM) at Stockholm University, the Stockholm Environment Institute, and the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences) have just recieved a the largest environmental research grant ever distributed in Sweden (22 million Euros) to build a new international transdisciplinary institute for research and policy dialogue on sustainable development.
From the CTM press release:
The new institute will conduct cutting edge research on how human welfare and viable ecosystems can develop together, and also act as a platform for dialogue between politicians, authorities and resource users all over the world. In this way, research results can be turned into practical solutions and contribute to sustainable societal development.
“Until now, political decision-making on the environment appears to have amounted to little more than reshuffling the deck chairs of the Titanic. In order to solve the great environmental problems of the world, we need to change course. Our hope is that the new Institute will contribute essential knowledge that is needed to steer development onto a sustainable path”, says Johan Rockström, Executive Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute and Director–to-be of the Institute.
Behind Mistra’s commitment lies the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a UN-led study on the world’s ecosystems which was released last year. In it, 1400 experts state that the ecosystems which are the basis for human welfare and economic development are deteriorating. Today, 60 percent of the free ecosystem services that we use are exploited in an unsustainable manner. Crucial ecosystem services such as air- and water purification, the pollination of crops and the seas’ capacity to produce fish are in serious decline. The changes are occurring so rapidly today that society is unable to adapt to the new environmental circumstances and thus cannot effectively develop strategies and frameworks for sustainable use of the ecosystems.
“We want to build a unique transdiciplinary research environment where innovative ideas can flourish. By combining new forms of cooperation with a holistic perspective, we hope to generate the insights that are needed to strengthen societies’ and the ecosystems’ capacities to meet a world which spins faster and faster”, says Carl Folke, Director of the Centre for Transdisciplinary Research and Science Director-to-be of the Institute.
“Our societies are an integrated part of the biosphere and dependent upon functioning ecosystems. That is why we need to manage ecosystems so that we can handle the future’s challenges and maintain our capacity to evolve in a positive way”, concludes Carl Folke.
The Institute will conduct internationally leading research on how human welfare and robust ecosystems can co-develop, as well as serving as a platform for dialogue with politicians, authorities and resource users at a local, regional and international level; emphasis will be placed on the dissemination of information and communication through different media.
The Institute’s research will contribute answers to questions of the future such as: How can human societies – from a local to international level – be organized in order to meet future climate change? How can we reform agriculture so that there is enough food for a growing population? How should networks of marine reserves be shaped in order to secure the world’s future fisheries? How do we decrease the level of vulnerability in the megacities of today and tomorrow?
Congratulations Calle, Johan, Thomas and everyone else who worked on the research proposal! I hope the center will be a huge success.