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Future Earth finds a home at Concordia

Professor Paul Shrivastava has been appointed executive director of a prestigious new United Nations program for global sustainability
February 13, 2015
By Christian Durand

Upsala Glacier Future Earth is devoted to research and public engagement on environmental issues and sustainable development. | Photo by David (Flickr Creative Commons)

The International Council for Science (ICSU) has appointed Paul Shrivastava as executive director of Future Earth, an innovative new global research platform with hubs in Boulder, Colorado; Paris, France; Stockholm, Sweden; Tokyo, Japan; and Montreal, Canada.

Shrivastava is the David O’Brien Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business (JMSB) in Montreal.

Future Earth is devoted to research and public engagement on environmental issues and sustainable development. It is the result of a commitment made in 2012 at the UN Rio+20 conference to develop a new international network to advance scientific study on questions of environmental impact.

Paul Shrivastava | Photo by Concordia

The initiative is supported by several international research councils, including the Fonds de recherche du Québec, and United Nations organizations, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Future Earth is structurally unique because of its globally distributed secretariat, which spans five cities and three continents. This innovative organizational model beat out 19 other bids.

There is an immense concentration of research expertise around environment and sustainability issues in Montreal, and one of the organizations that played a key role in advancing the idea of a globally distributed secretariat was Montreal International.

For its part, Concordia initially committed to house the Montreal hub. But with Shrivastava’s appointment, the city has now become the international headquarters of Future Earth, so the university has now offered additional space to accommodate the global secretariat. 

“Paul is a successful entrepreneur and global consultant who is deeply committed to promoting sustainable enterprise,” says Alan Shepard, president of Concordia. “This is the type of leadership Future Earth will need as it hits the ground running. We couldn’t be happier for him.”

Future Earth has a 10-year mandate and will bring together three global environmental change programs: the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, the International Human Dimensions Programme and Diversitas. It will also engage closely with the World Climate Research Programme and attract new research and stakeholder communities.

Find out more about Future Earth.



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