Transdisciplinary Research for Pathways to Sustainability Awards: Discover COVPATH and SUSTAINDAM supported by GEO.

Blog / April 26, 2021

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) together with Belmont Forum, Future Earth and twelve funding partners is pleased to announce 13 new awards funded under the multilateral, transdisciplinary Collaborative Research Action     focusing on “Transdisciplinary Research for Pathways to Sustainability.

The call supports the establishment of collaborative networks to develop innovative solutions for sustainable development pathways. The funded networks seek to assess the positive and negative connections between the economy, technologyand institutions with the environment, climate, biodiversity and human well-being to understand possible pathways to a sustainable world. A critical focus of these networks is the co-production of knowledge and solutions using a transdisciplinary approach. This includes engagement of societal stakeholders to ensure ownership of research outcomes, relevance to decision makers, societal acceptance and empowerment.

Fourteen funders, including GEO, have pledged 2.5M€ of financial and in-kind resources to support 13 research networks with 136 collaborators from 37 countries over the next 2 years. The teams will focus on sustainability challenges in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Through the generous support and partnership of FutureEarth Africa, AllEnvi, NIMR, NRF and GEO, a new milestone will be reached: 28% of the collaborators supported through this  Belmont Forum call are from African Nations.

GEO will provide in-kind support to two projects that are building their transdisciplinary research on Earth observations:

  • COVPATH - Coviability Path, a new framework to sustainably link humankind and the biosphere.

COVPATH proposes a new transversal pathway in the sustainable development agenda that reintegrates humans into the living world around shared health. This project builds on the socio-ecological concept of coviability, defined as the interdependence between humans and nature that results from interactions between human and non-human systems and is based on mutual sustainability. Viability is defined as the ability to exist, thrive, feel good, and be happy in a sustainable way. COVPATH will test the implementation of this concept in six biosphere reserves spread across the globe. Geo-indicators of co-viability will be created using open Earth observations available through the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and will benefit from collaboration with the GEO BON and EO4SDG initiatives.

  • SUSTAINDAM - Sustainable management and planning of hydropower generation in West Africa under climate change and land use/land cover dynamics.

SUSTAINDAM aims to contribute to sustainable planning and management of hydropower generation in West Africa under climate uncertainties and land use/land cover dynamics. The research team plans to build communities of practices with stakeholders to explore trade-offs across multiple SDGs that may be required in terms of effective hydroelectric power generation. The added value this project brings through the integration of natural and social sciences will inform dam management by providing an interdisciplinary understanding of trade-offs related to vulnerability reduction, societal adaptation, mitigation, and transformation in relation to local and national water governance. 4 hydro-electric dam sites across West Africa will be compared with different socioeconomic contexts considering climate change scenarios. SUSTAINDAM will collaborate directly with AfriGEO, the regional GEO, which is a member of the consortium. The proposed consortium consists of 14 partners, including four from African institutions, nine from European institutions (two from France and seven from Germany), and one regional organization in Kenya (AfriGEO).

The two winning projects will have access to the GEO network, resources and stakeholders of selected GEO Work Programme activities with the aim of integrating, supporting, or scaling-up the work of these GEO activities. The GEO Secretariat will liaise with winning projects that qualify for GEO resources.

Please send questions and communications about the Pathways to Sustainability project coordination to pathways@belmontforum.org


GEO Secretariat (Doug Cripe, Ian Jarvis, Laurent Durieux, Sara Venturini)

More info on the awarded projects of the call here.



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