Future Earth Knowledge Action Networks / Topics

 Our 3rd German Future Earth Summit will focus on topics related to Future Earth Knowledge Action Networks. The Future Earth Knowledge Action Networks (KANs) are collaborative frameworks that facilitate the production and dissemination of highly integrative sustainability research co-designed with stakeholders. The aim of a KAN is to generate the integrated knowledge products needed to inform solutions to complex societal challenges and to stimulate change. Knowledge Action Networks build on the broad range and diversity of specialist expertise represented in the large community of researchers and practitioners associated with Future Earth, e.g. networks, projects, organisation or individuals that are part of the Future Earth Open Network. The following KANs are underway:

The Future Earth Health Knowledge Action Network responds to the planetary health concept. It will bring health researchers together with natural and social scientists, health and environmental policy experts and leaders in government, the private sector and civil society to promote research for better, integrated understanding of the complex interactions between a changing global environment (such as pollution, disease pathogens and vectors, ecosystem services) and the health of human beings (including livelihoods, nutrition and well-being).

More information

Health KAN Development Team

The Future Earth Natural Assets Knowledge Action Network will focus on questions such as “How will changes to ecosystems and their biota alter the benefits that human societies need to have a fulfilling life?” The challenge lies in achieving a scientifically-based, sustainable and fair stewardship of terrestrial, freshwater and marine natural assets underpinning human well-being. The following five potential working fields have been identified: (1) Biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services, (2) Governance and fair stewardship of natural assets, (3) Socio-economical transformations for sustainable consumption and production of resources, (4) Development of scenarios and models to support multilateral agreements, (5) Concept of Natural Assets.

More information

Natural Assets KAN Development Team (currently established)

The Ocean Knowledge Action Network seeks to address the challenge of climate change, overfishing, acidification, de-oxygenation and pollution through solutions-oriented research and by engaging with stakeholders from diverse sectors and regions and by drawing on the strong fundamental research and innovative agendas of the international marine projects and communities in Future Earth and beyond. Together with ICSU, WCRP, CLIVAR and IOC a scoping workshop has been organised that shaped the KAN in the following direction: (1) Ocean in 2050,(2) Ocean health, (3) Ocean governance, (4) Integrative data and open information, (5) societal transformation & interactive learning and knowledge exchange.

More information

OCEAN KAN Development Team (currently established)

The Future Earth Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SSCP) Knowledge-Action Network emphasises the need to address whole provisioning systems, including consumption practices and production conditions, as well as life-cycle impacts and the economic, political, social and cultural imperatives that impel consumerist lifestyles. To promote a more systemic approach to SCP and to enable a transformation in theory and practice, the Knowledge-Action Network aims to strengthen collaboration between communities of researchers and practitioners that are currently focused on either production or consumption, including actors, decision makers and other stakeholders. Knowledge-Action Network focus on co-designed studies and co-generated knowledge in the field of (1) Ecological macroeconomics and political economy of transition to sustainable lifestyles, (2) Urban provisioning systems and well-being, (3) Social change beyond consumerism and (4) Communicating for Sustainable Consumption and Production.

More information

SSCP KAN Development Team

The aim of the Knowledge Action Network on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG KAN) is to bring the scientific knowledge and processes of the Future Earth community into the efforts to implement and achieve the SDGs. The methodological thinking underpinning this KAN is that of integrated, system-based, solution-oriented and multi-scale (local to global) approaches. Future Earth aims to enhance the contribution of research in helping to achieve the SDGs through (1) Connecting the international research community to the SDG policy interface, (2) Identifying and solving cross-cutting and cross-scale SDG delivery challenges, addressing institutional problems and systemic constraints, (3) Synthesizing and proposing pathways based on existing research, (4) Mobilizing an interdisciplinary scientific group to derive data and information to support the SDGs, (5) Identifying critical research and funding streams for the SDGs and stimulate projects in these fields.

More information

Report “The Contribution of Science in Implementing the SDGs”

The Future Earth Transformations Knowledge Action Network is connecting researchers and practitioners all over the world in a concerted effort to identify and fill the knowledge gaps pertaining to societal transformations to sustainability. The Network is based on a conception of “transformation” as a profound and complex socio-ecological process with both short- and long-term implications for the sustainability of natural and social systems. Engaging with a wide range of research communities and non-academic actors, this Knowledge Action Network will explore and integrate diverse perspectives on critical questions and issues relating to sustainability, such as what type of alternative futures are considered desirable and possible, whose visions count and the politics and social conflicts surrounding decisions and actions concerning transformations to sustainability.

More information

Get involved in creating a Global SDG Transformation Forum

The Future Earth Urban Knowledge Action Network is going to 1) build a global research platform and engagement network on urbanization and sustainable cities, 2) become a key source of knowledge from integrative, interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research across natural and social sciences, engineering and humanities, for practitioners, policy and decision-makers, and 3) contribute to the transition and transformation towards sustainable urban futures where cities are more livable, equitable and resilient through co-developed and solutions-oriented research.

More information

Urban KAN Development Team

The Future Earth Finance and Economics Knowledge Action Network will focus on improving the understanding of sustainability through the lens of business, economic and financial systems, and their inter-dependencies – and to do this, as much as possible, together with practitioners. The aim of this work is to contribute to the urgently needed emergence of sustainable development pathways that link economic prosperity with social justice and a healthy biosphere.

More information

Delivering water, energy and food for all in a sustainable and equitable way is one of the major challenges faced by our societies. The Future Earth Knowledge Action Network on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus will support this goal by providing the knowledge needed to understand how interactions between water, energy and food are shaped by environmental, economic, social and political changes and how the synergies and trade-offs among them can be better planned and managed. The KAN is a collaborative initiative of the Core Projects of Future Earth, the Future Earth Cluster Activity on Sustainability for water, energy and food through integrated water information and improved governance and CCAFS (the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security).

More information


The Future Earth Decarbonisation KAN explores the possible pathways for a rapid decarbonisation of the world economy. The default pathway is described by the Carbon Law (Rockström et al, Science issue 6331) which requires emissions peaking at 2020 and thereafter halving every decade. The key objective of the KAN is to understand the implications of decarbonisation pathways and promote positive effects on, as well as preventing harm to, human development and biosphere integrity, using an SDGs perspective. This includes issues such as social equity and preserving biodiversity.

The KAN fundamentally draws on the existing Future Earth community expertise in climate modeling and carbon budgets but is expanded to include a wide disciplinary breadth, encompassing natural and social sciences, engineering and humanities, as well as societal stakeholders. A first 2-day workshop was held in London in March 2017 on the topic of Disruptive Low-Carbon Innovation. The workshop initiated a dialogue on one of the key topic of the KAN and showcased researcher-stakeholder interaction. It was set up in a way that the first day was mainly for stakeholders to frame issues while the second day was for researchers to pick up these issues and define research questions. Follow-up workshops are planned, likely focusing on rapid decarbonisation coupled with ICT and/or urban development.

For detailed information please contact:

Dr. Erik Pihl (Future Earth Hub Sweden) erik.pihl(a)futureearth.org



The Future Earth KAN on Emergent Risks and Extreme Events aims to define an interaction network between its partners and wider stakeholders to allow a structured integration and synthesis of expertise, professional and local knowledge to accelerate action on multi-hazard and compound events and so to support a transformation of development towards an equitable, sustainable and resilient future. The goal of reducing in an integrated manner the systemic, complex and cascading risks against the background of climatic, environmental and socioeconomic change requires scientific collaboration among multiple existing expert communities and with the stakeholders in the society. In this context, three ICSU programmes, World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) and Future Earth, are establishing a new KAN on Emergent Risks and Extreme Events.

For detailed information please contact:

Prof. Dr. Fumiko Kasuga (Future Earth Hub Japan) fumiko.kasuga(a)futureearth.org

Dr. Thorsten Kiefer (Future Earth Hub France) thorsten.kiefer(a)futureearth.org

Contact & Organiser:


German Committee Future Earth

Heilbronner Str. 150
70191 Stuttgart, Germany





Supported by

As contribution to