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The PAGES project is an international effort to coordinate and promote past global change research through the themes climate, environment, and humans.

Global Context

Over the last few years, the context of environmental research has been subject to exciting developments. Under the umbrella of the United Nations, the global community adopted major international political agreements in areas such as sustainability, climate, disasters, and biodiversity.

These agreements have directed much-needed attention towards environmental and sustainability challenges, provided frameworks for global action and sharpened the demand for scientific knowledge. This is a great responsibility and opportunity for science and its enablers, such as research programs like PAGES, research funders, and others.

Several global political agreements adopted by the United Nations, including the Paris climate agreement, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the very comprehensive 2030 Development Agenda, have created a framework for policy goals and implicit directions for research and innovation.

These agreements build on 17 Sustainable Development Goals and associated 169 targets. The resulting global agenda comprehensively addresses key global sustainability challenges. Many of them associate directly with core domains of PAGES’ expertise, such as climate change, ocean health, land systems, biodiversity, and disaster risk, or they are indirectly associated with the scope of PAGES, such as questions related to the sustainable provision of water, food, and energy, or favourable conditions for human health.

Scientific Context

Observing and understanding past environmental changes can contribute crucially to addressing big questions and challenges that face societies and ecologies in the human-activity-impacted Anthropocene era and in globally connected socio-environmental systems.

PAGES, with its global network of expert communities at its core, is committed to facilitating the generation and delivery of multi-perspective expert knowledge from retrospective scientific evidence. The Topcial Science Meetings are designed to advance and deliver such knowledge on hot topics.

Building a sustainable and resilient world requires a strong scientific basis and involves interdisciplinary science. Observation and understanding of events, changes, and processes that took place during times before instrumental monitoring can be used to characterize natural backgrounds and to inform future projections, risk assessment, and societal strategies for sustainability. Moreover, global and regional paleoenvironmental and paleosocietal knowledge can be translated into actionable information and understanding, accessiblea to other researchers, decision makers and the public, through educational products and publications.