The Earth System Science Partnership is a joint initiative of four international global environmental change research programmes:
- DIVERSITAS - an integrated programme of biodiversity science
- IHDP - International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change
- IGBP - International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme
- WCRP - World Climate Research Programme
The Partnership allows for an integrated study of the Earth System, the ways that it is changing, and the implications for global and regional sustainability.
The central activities of the ESSP are Joint Projects on issues of global sustainability, designed to address the global environmental change aspects of four critical issues for human well-being: energy and the carbon cycle (GCP), food security (GECAFS), water resources (GWSP) and human health (GEC&HH). The ESSP is also currently developing a small set of Integrated Regional Studies (IRS), designed to contribute sound scientific understanding in support of sustainable development at the local level. The first study is in Monsoon Asia (MAIRS). The Joint Projects, START and MAIRS all have a strong suite of capacity building and networking elements to their activities. ESSP Partners also collaborate closely with the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI).