The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) celebrated its 100th anniversary at UNESCO headquarters today. This non-governmental international scientific organization, established on 28 July 1919, is dedicated to advancing, promoting, and communicating knowledge of the Earth system, its space environment, and the dynamical processes causing change. IUGG through its various member organizations and UNESCO have been working closely for many decades to further their common goals: fostering research cooperation and disseminating scientific knowledge to promote resilience, sustainability and peace.
The anniversary was celebrated with a conference promoting international cooperation in earth and space sciences. The guest of honour, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, received the IUGG Honorary Membership award for his “outstanding contributions to the promotion of climate change, water, biodiversity and oceanographic research”.
“The Earth Sciences hold the record of our small planet, a record stretching back 4,600 million years” reminded Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences. “Humanity has been here just for a tiny fraction of that time, yet it is increasingly obvious the threat we pose to life on earth. We have a short time to transform modern society in order to secure a sustainable future for all and our collaboration with the IUGG and several other scientific unions and associations is of vital importance for us.”
The conference brought together leading international scientific organisations, and was opened by Kathryn Waler, IUGG President, together with Shamila Nair-Bedouelle of UNESCO, Heide Hackmann of the International Science Council (ISC), Elena Manaenkova of the World Meteorological Organization(WMO), Ricardo Mena of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and Lassina Zerbo of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
The programme explored how science can respond to societal needs and address critical challenges. It also highlights the many fields of expertise and collaboration between IUGG and UNESCO: climate change, disaster risk reduction, earth sciences with UNESCO’s International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme, ocean science with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, freshwater with UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme, to name a few. Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, provided some insights on Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
All of these fields are essential to human well-being and sustainable development, and can provide the tools we need to create a more sustainable future for people and the planet.
The celebrations closed with a performance by the PhiloGaïa Orchestra, of compositions based on geophysical images, entitled “We love our planet!”.