The Belmont Forum is a high level group of the world’s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils.
The challenges being presented to the Global Change Research (GCR) agenda are changing and intensifying. Further changes resulted from new political imperatives that emerged from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) CoP/MoP.
In recognition of this shifting landscape, in June 2009, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) hosted a small conference of principal officials of key environment and geosciences funding agencies, in the USA.
The objectives of this 'Belmont Conference' were to identify GCR priorities that might benefit from better cooperation and how best to address these.
Participants in the Belmont Conference agreed on the need for an improved forum for :
- strengthening engagement between the research funding agencies and the academic research community as represented by ICSU and
- improving coordination of early phase engagement on GCR strategies and priorities in order to improve co-design, co-alignment, and co-funding of major research programs.
They agreed that the Belmont Group, augmented by members from key emerging economies, would provide an ideal structure for this purpose, because its small and specific membership could promote frank discussion and rapid decision-making about the planning, support and implementation of GCR.
To this end, the Group established the Belmont Forum and agreed that this Forum should meet at least annually and more frequently at the outset.
In October of 2009, the Belmont Forum became the Council of Principals for IGFA, succeeding the IGFA Steering Committee.
Current members of the Belmont Forum are: Australia, CSIRO; Brazil, FAPESP; China (Beijing), NSFC; European Commission; France, Allenvi ANR; Germany, DFG and BMBF; India, MOES; International Council for Science (ICSU); International Social Science Council (ISSC); Italy, CNR-DTA; Japan, MEXT; Norway, RCN; South Africa, NRF; Sweden, SSEESS; United Kingdom, NERC; United States of America, NSF.
It is intended that IGFA, led by the Belmont Forum/IGFA Council of Principals, and guided by the charge embodied in the "Belmont Challenge," will work proactively and on an action-oriented basis to enhance cooperation and coordination of global environmental change research.
The Belmont Forum aims at delivering knowledge to support human action and adaptation to global environmental change.