European networking since 2008
European Alliance is a network of the European global change research national committees of the International Council for Science, ICSU. Initially, the national committees represented the four international global environmental change programs of ICSU: IHDP - International Human Dimensions Programme, IGBP - International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, WCRP - World Climate Research Programme, DIVERSITAS - an integrated programme of biodiversity science and their joint association ESSP - Earth System Science Partnership. Currently, many of the national committees are in a transition phase to become the national committees for Future Earth, the new 10-year global change research initiative led by ICSU.
The first get-together of the European global change research national committees (including Russia) took place as a part of the IGBP Open Science conference held in the Stellenbosch Botanical Garden, Cape Town, in May 2008. This two-day meeting aimed to improve the regional networks by recognizing important regional differences. Furthermore, it provided a platform for exchanging information and experiences with training, integrative projects, data sharing as well as linking science, policy and other stakeholders with each other.
The meeting proved to be an excellent opportunity to discuss and enhance the role and structure of the national committees in global change research community. A common theme that emerged was the role that national committees together with the global environmental research programmes and ESSP could play in enhancing the recognition of governments to global change issues, including mitigation and adaptation. However, the meeting recognized the heterogeneity of the national committees in relation to structure, represented programs, funding and other means. The discussion concluded that broadening the scope of the national committees by including all four global environmental change programmes is essential to build an effective European community. Furthermore, there was a clear need for co-ordination. Based on these discussions, the participants proposed to found a European platform for Global Change Research Committees to discuss European issues of Global Change research.
The inaugural meeting of the Alliance took place in Lisbon, in November 2008. Since the the Alliance has met approximately once a year and from 2014 it has held Internet Meetings in addition to Annual Meetings. The European Alliance continues to develop its initial objective, i.e. to enhance the role of the national committees within the global change research initiatives of ICSU.
The chairmanship and the secretariat of the European Alliance rotates every three years (one re-election is possible). Currently, the chair of the Alliance if professor Markku Kulmala from the University of the Helsinki and the vice chair is Christoph Ritz from Proclim-, Switzerland. The European Alliance has a two-person secretariat located at the university of Helsinki.