09.02.2018 - New York Office

2019 International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements

© Shutterstock/Dorea Reeser/C&EN

On 9 February 2018, UNESCO and the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations hosted an information session on the 2019 International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The information session entitled the “Presentation of the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements” focused on the upcoming activities that will be organized in the context of the 2019 International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. Among others, these activities will highlight the contributions of chemistry and other basic sciences to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In December 2017, the UN General Assembly during its 74th Plenary Meeting proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT 2019). In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements and its applications, the UN has recognized the importance of raising global awareness of how chemistry promotes sustainable development and provides solutions to global challenges in energy, agriculture, health and other critical sectors. The IYPT2019 will bring together many different stakeholders including UNESCO, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), International Astronomical UNION (IAU), International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IUHPST), European Association of Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS),   other scientific societies and unions, educational and research institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners to promote and celebrate the significance of the Periodic Table of Elements and its applications to society during 2019.

The event in New York consisted of an interactive discussion between representatives of the science community and the delegations based in New York. At the outset, Professor Natalia Tarasova, IUPAC Past President, a member of the Russian Academy of Science and Director of the Institute of Chemistry and Problems of Sustainable Development at D. Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, introduced the history of chemistry and the father of the periodic table, Dmitri Mendeleev.  She outlined examples of scientists who have made key discoveries in chemistry and how knowledge gained from these discoveries contributes to tackling challenges critical for the survival of humankind.

Ms. Ana Persic, Science Specialist of the UNESCO Liaison Office, continued the discussion with chemistry’s main contributions to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). She highlighted how UNESCO continues to give attention to fundamental science, which is at the heart of its mandate in promoting sciences as tools for peace and development.

Ms. Chris McCue, VP of Marketing at the CAS division of the American Chemical Society, shared how it is important to reach out to the general public and educate them about the value chemistry and science brings to the world. The CAS division works towards this by maintaining its online database ‘SciFinder’ which keeps a record of scientific reports that can assist future research and advancement in scientific fields.

In the interactive discussion that followed, participants inquired about the key goals set for the 2019 International Year of the Periodic Table, and what types of collaborations are planned to help promote science at a local level. A key suggestion was also made about hosting a side event about chemistry and the periodic table during the upcoming ECOSOC Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum, to bring attention to member states about science as an effective tool for the implementation of SDGs.

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