START, established under the aegis of ICSU, and co-sponsored by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, the World Climate Research Programme, and the International Human Dimensions Programme on global environmental change, will foster regional networks of collaborating scientists and institutions in developing countries. These networks will conduct research on regional aspects of environmental change, assess impacts and vulnerabilities to such changes, and provide information to policy-makers. START will enhance the scientific capacity of developing countries to address the complex processes of environmental change and degradation through a wide variety of training and career development programs. START will also mobilize resources to support infrastructure and research programs on environmental change within developing regions resulting in a leveraging of core support.
START's research-driven capacity-building activities are expected to involve annually hundreds of participants and to encourage especially young START network scientists to become mentors and leaders in their region, to serve on scientific and planning committees for the global change research programs, and to contribute their scientific expertise to the policy-making process. The Secretariat will be responsible for program planning, coordination, and resource mobilization for the international framework of regional research networks and programs that the International START Secretariat has established. The Secretariat will also maintain its effort to internationalize global change research through research-driven capacity building in developing regions of the world. These networks and programs are expected to also engage a large number of U.S. scientists and institutions in collaborative research partnerships.