The UK's �1 billion 'Living With Environmental Change' (LWEC) programme has been launched, just three weeks before world-leaders meet at the G8 summit in Tokyo to discuss the environment and climate change.

LWEC is an unprecedented partnership of 17 research and policy-making organisations working together to find ways to cope with the environmental changes that are already starting to affect people's wellbeing and livelihoods. The programme seeks to address environmental change in the short-term and at the regional level as well as the longer term global changes.

A key objective is to provide the evidence- base required by policy-makers and people to make timely decisions that will enable us to prepare for the predicted changes and to manage the economic impacts. Key environmental challenges to be explored include climate change, loss of biodiversity, the availability of sustainable water and food supplies, preparing for and managing extreme events, alleviating poverty in developing countries, and protecting people, animals and plants from disease.