Exciting times for PECS in 2019

10 years on from its inception, PECS will begin a process of renewal and restructuring.

Regional coordination nodes

The end of 2018 marked 10 years since the first Science Committee meeting of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society. PECS became fully operational in 2011 when the Secretariat of PECS was hosted and funded by the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) – a leading transdisciplinary collaborative research centre in the area of coupled social-ecological systems, regime shifts and stewardship of ecosystem services. Since that time more than 25 transdisciplinary projects have officially been endorsed as PECS projects, and these represent more than 50 regional social-ecological case-studies in 25 countries. PECS has also held two highly successful conferences that had an explicit focus of having a mix of scientists, policy makers and practitioners, the first of which was held in Stellenbosch, South Africa in 2015, and the second in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2017.

In 2019 PECS will begin a process to expand to a nodal and regional coordination structure. A regionally distributed Secretariat will ensure a broad geographical representation worldwide, it will help strengthen the international ties between key regional social-ecological research networks, and facilitate engagement with key regional stakeholders. The first additional node of the new regionally distributed Secretariat will be hosted by the CST at Stellenbosch University.external link, opens in new window The CST has become known as a vibrant hub for solution-oriented, transdisciplinary sustainability science that aims to inform pressing national, continental and global sustainability and development challenges. The proposed office will be advised by and work closely with Prof Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs, the new incoming co-chair of PECS, and also the initiator and coordinator of The Southern African Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (SAPECS), one of the key regional programs of PECS.

The new secretariat node at CST will operate in close coordination with a downscaled program office at the SRC. The CST has a longstanding and close collaboration with the SRC, and is therefore an obvious choice as an additional regional node. An office in South Africa will powerfully complement the networks covered by the SRC, and will also help leverage the work of SAPECS into the global PECS network.

New SC co-chairs

As mentioned in earlier news, we are proud and honored to announce our new Science Committee Chairs – Berta Martín-López and Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs. Both Berta and Oonsie have been fundamental parts of the PECS science committee and will now take the helm for the next three years.

New Executive Director

Odirilwe (Odi) Selomane will be taking over as PECS Executive Director. Odi has a long history with PECS. He was deeply involved with the Southern African Programme on Ecosystems and Society (SAPECS), a regional wing of the PECS programme, since its inception. He is currently a researcher at Stockholm Resilience Centre and will split his time between Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at Stellenbosch University for the running of PECS. His work focuses on social-ecological systems research and particularly sustainable development, ecosystem services and human well-being.