In 1990, a series of scientific reports highlighted the urgent need to involve developing countries in conducting regionally based research that would promote better understanding of the global climate system and that would address significant gaps in knowledge of impacts and vulnerabilities at regional, national and local levels in the developing world.

A meeting of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) in Bellagio, Italy in 1990 concluded that a system of regional networks focusing on analysis, research and training would be an effective way of ensuring regional collaboration on global change science and research. Thus, START was conceived.

START was launched in 1992 under the aegis of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and its four international global change science programs as the capacity building arm of the global change programs’ work in Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Over the last two decades of supporting capacity development, START has made important strides in advancing knowledge generation and dissemination that informs policy and decision-making in and across climate-sensitive sectors of the developing world. START has:

  • Expanded understanding of climate change and other drivers of global change at local, national and regional scales in Africa, Asia-Pacific;
  • Increased the number and caliber of developing country scientists engaged in global change research;
  • Strengthened institutions in developing countries to advance interdisciplinary science and informed policy and decision-making;
  • Catalyzed and enhanced regional cooperation in regional and global change research; and
  • Fostered dialogue and collaboration between scientists and communities of policy and practice that enhances knowledge exchange and translation of knowledge to action.