18 new projects to join the International Geoscience Programme in 2020


The International Geoscience Programme Council, during their 5th Session of the annual Council meeting, decided to continue supporting 24 ongoing projects and approved 18 new projects, totaling 42 active IGCP projects in 2020. Below are the details of the 18 new projects which will join the long list of over 650 projects from 150 countries supported by the IGCP.

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UNESCO is the only United Nations organization with a mandate to support research and capacity building in geology and geophysics, and the International Geoscience programme (IGCP) is our flagship. The IGCP has long been globally recognized amongst geoscientists as one of the most successful models for promoting international scientific cooperation in geosciences sharing a global vision for research. This joint venture created 48 years ago by UNESCO, and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) continues to promote the sustainable use of natural resources, advancing new initiatives related to geo-diversity, geo-heritage and geohazards risk mitigation with the financial supports of the Jeju Province Development Corporation and UNESCO Chinese National Commission. The IGCP Council, supported by the Scientific Board, is responsible for evaluating project proposals according to the IGCP Guidelines, as well as for the quality assessment of projects in progress.

This year, the Council meeting was scheduled to meet on 13-16 March 2020, but due to COVID-19 precautions and safety measures, the evaluations were held online through teleconferencing between 12-16 March 2020. In this meeting, the progress of the 31 ongoing projects was assessed and 26 new proposals - submitted as of October 2019 according to the guidelines of the Council – were reviewed.

The details of IGCP 2020 projects and UNESCO Secretariat 2019 IGCP annual report can be accessed through UNESCO’s webpage.

We would like to thank IGCP community for their contributions and welcome new projects.


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Earth Resources:

IGCP 636- Geothermal resources for energy transition.

This project will focus on the research of deep geothermal reservoirs. One of the key purposes of this project is to promote the use of geothermal resources as a renewable energy source by conducting outreach activities with focus groups and communities and by promoting the installation of geothermal heat pumps. IGCP 636* will bring be delivered by project leaders from five different countries (Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Canada and Italy). More information

IGCP 637- Heritage Stones: a step towards to widen up the recognition of stones used in the building of heritage in emerging countries.

Global Heritage Stone Resource (GHSR) is a scientific designation created and managed by the Heritage Stone Subcommission – HSS (IUGS/IAEG) to enhance the geological knowledge, use and conservation of natural stones of historical importance worldwide. The HERITAGE  STONES RECOGNITION: A STEP FORWARD (HerSTONES) project aims the designation of more Heritage Stones, focussing on those from emerging countries,underrepresented on the current GHSR list. Stone is strictly linked to cultural heritage and the oldest civilizations (cradle of ancient culture) evolved in emerging countries from Africa,Middle East and South Asia. Moreover, Heritage Stones from emerging countries have been instrumental in their cultural evolution during the centuries. HerSTONES project will improve the recognition of Heritage Stones in global and young context by means of novel and effectives ways, building also capacities for the sustainable use of earth resources. More information

IGCP 674- Human health impacts of mining activities in Sub-Sahara Africa.

This project aims to investigate the impact of past and ongoing mining activities in seven African countries (Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, DR Congo, and Burkina Faso) on the biophysical environment and public health. Project leaders of each of these countries will combine their expertise to map the distribution of abandoned and active mine sites and to investigate their effects on soil quality, water quality, food quality, air quality, biodiversity as well as health impacts on adjoining communities. More information

IGCP 696- Impacts from Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in the Amazon.

This project will explore the flow of Mercury (Hg), its uptake and deposition to soils and aquatic systems as well as zones of Hg methylation by Artisanal and Small mining sites in Amazonian Ecosystems into the environment. The results of this project will contribute to the work-related environmental protection against mercury contamination. Project leaders are from Peru, Canada, and the USA. More information

IGCP 697- Building New Tools for Data Sharing and Re-use through a Transnational Investigation of the Socioeconomic Impacts of Protected Areas.

Scientific advances depend on the availability, accessibility, and reusability of data and digital research products. Yet large amounts of data on the Earth are not well preserved. IGCP697 project brings together researchers in Brazil, Japan, the US, France, the UK, and Australia to support the collaboration of a synthesis-science team and data-science team to conduct a transdisciplinary, transnational synthesis science project, using artificial intelligence and deep learning, in parallel and in partnership with a project on the use and re-use of environmental and socioeconomic data to assess practices for managing and preserving data. More information

IGCP 698- NextMine (2020).

Project leaders from the Zambia, Zimbabwe, UK, and Namibia will create a sustainability atlas for mining in southern Africa. The long-term vision of the project is to help transform southern Africa by developing sustainable economies, thriving communities, and environments that harness the region's extensive mineral wealth equitably and inclusively during and beyond the life of mines. More information

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Global Change:

IGCP 700- Carbonate Build-Ups In South East Asia.

The “Palaeozoic carbonate build-ups in South East Asia” project is proposed by project leaders from Thailand, China, and Malaysia with the aim of data synthesis on carbonate build-ups, to compare their geological and fossil histories across national boundaries, to indicate and map areas of economical, touristic and hydrological potential in order to promote sustainable development and to answer major scientific questions on carbonate sedimentation. More information

IGCP 704- Tropical peatland processes and ecosystem services.

Peatlands are a crucial part of Earth’s System and therefore project leaders from Thailand, the UK, and the USA will analyze the paleo-peatland records and their associations with recent climatic changes along with land-use change analysis to improve peatland resource management. More information

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IGCP 669- Identification of seismogenic faults in populated areas of Latin America and its incorporation into seismic hazard assessment.

This project leaders from Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Italy and France will address the seismic hazard assessment of populated regions of Latin America. They would bring together specialists and young researchers from both sides of the Atlantic to improve the geological knowledge on two case studies: the Transmexican Volcanic belt (TMVB) and the Northern South America Plate Boundary. More information

IGCP 701- Seismic vulnerability of buildings located on hillsides.

Project leaders of Chile, Argentina and Ecuador address and assess the vulnerability of the residential buildings located on the slopes of mountains that surround large cities. The aim of the project is to strengthen the capability building of local scientists for the assessment of seismic vulnerability in the region. More information

IGCP 705- Building Global Capacity for the Observation of Volcanic and Atmospheric Change.

Project leaders of Sweden, the USA, Colombia and Ecuador aim to enhance the collaboration between experts of different disciplines to analyze volcanic plume signals for eruption prediction to reduce its impact. More information

IGCP 713- Changing the paradigm in observational volcano science: Community plan for the Global Volcano Observatory (GloVO) Initiative.

Project leaders from the USA and Costa Rica aim to establish a Global Volcano Observatory which would allow systematic and multidisciplinary studies of the full range of volcanic activity on Earth. More information

IGCP 693 Seismic risk assessment in Haiti.

After the big earthquake in 2010 in Haïti, a lot of studies have been introduced to understand the seismic hazard of the country. With this project researches from Haïti, Lebanon, Indonesia and France want to construct an accurate seismic risk map, collecting a multidisciplinary dataset, combining the previously obtained study results with societal exposure and vulnerability. More information

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IGCP 706- Transformations of the Eastern Rift Valley Lakes

Unprecedented changes in water levels of the eastern rifts valley lakes in Kenya and Tanzania have been causing geophysical, hydrological and ecological impacts. Project leaders from Kenya, Tanzania, and Germany will map, quantify and inventory the geological, hydrological and social impacts of these rising water levels. More information

IGCP 707- Origin, Distribution, and Biogeochemistry of Arsenic in the Altiplano-Puna plateau of South America.

Project leaders from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and the USA will investigate the alarming arsenic concentrations in the water supply in the Altiplano-Puna plateau of South America. As mentioned in the title, the project will focus on the origin of the Arsenic, its geochemistry and mobility, its distribution in the environment and its effect on the local community and biodiversity. More information

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IGCP 683- Pre-Atlantic geological connections among northwest Africa, Iberia, and eastern North America: Implications for continental configurations and economic resources.

Project leaders from Morocco, USA, Spain, and Canada will unravel some of the latest configurations of continents and microcontinents along the present-day circum-northern Atlantic Ocean during the Paleozoic Era. The project will generate a new field, geochemical and geochronological data from southern Morocco and circum-Atlantic magmatic provinces of latest Paleozoic-Triassic age, bring together members of a diverse international earth-science community through field forums, to discuss and to evaluate the effects of global-scale magmatism on mass extinctions and biota destruction, and promote scientific training for young scientists (particularly women) in North African countries. More information

IGCP 709- High pressure-Ultrahigh pressure metamorphism and geochemical cycles in subduction zones.

Project leaders from China, Germany, Nepal, Russia, Italy, and Morocco aim to answer fundamental questions about the HP-UHP metamorphism, the material cycle between the surface and the deep mantle and the geodynamic processes occurring during subduction. More information

IGCP​​​​​​​ 710- Western Tethys meets Eastern Tethys.

Bringing together project leaders from Poland, Austria, Slovenia, China, Greece, Myanmar, Nepal, Japan and Turkey, the project ‘Western Tethys meets Eastern Tethys – geodynamical, paleoceanographical and paleobiogeographical events’ project will further examine the geological history of the Tethys Ocean. More information

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