The Centre's roots go back to 1979 when IUCN established a Cambridge office to monitor endangered species. In 1988 the independent, non-profit World Conservation Monitoring Centre was founded jointly by IUCN, WWF and UNEP. Their financial support and guidance in the Centre's formative years is widely recognised and appreciated. The transition to UNEP in the year of the new millennium received the full support of IUCN and WWF, as well as the political and financial backing of the UK government. A high level Scientific Advisory Council is being established to guide the Centre's work, which is closely linked to the UNEP Programme on Environmental Information, Assessment and Early Warning.