21.02.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Reading rocks : 40th anniversary of UNESCO’s International Geoscience Programme

A conference to mark the 40th anniversary of UNESCO’s International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) will be held at the Organization’s Headquarters on 22 February (9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Room IV). Over the years, the IGCP has led projects to study rocks for information about climate change, assess the impact of the geological environment on human health, improve knowledge of water resources in karsts and much more.

The conference will be opened by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and by the President of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), Alberto Riccardi. It will bring together numerous experts from different parts of the world including Gordon McBean, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and President of the International Council for Science ; Xavier Le Pichon, geophysics professor at the Collège de France and Ian Stewart, emeritus professor of mathematics (University of Warwick, UK). The purpose of the conference is to take stock of the achievements and challenges of the International Programme and map the road ahead.

UNESCO is the only United Nations agency mandated to support research in the Earth sciences. Launched in 1972, the International Geoscience Programme brings together UNESCO and IUGS, a non-governmental organization that supports international cooperation in geology.

Tales set in stone: 40 years of the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) is a publication issued on the occasion of the Conference (in English, French and Spanish). It traces the history of this programme of international scientific cooperation at the service of society.

The International Geoscience Programme today numbers 335 projects in nearly 150 countries. It also serves as a network for thousands of scientists worldwide, notably in developing countries and focuses on projects relating to present concerns such as georisks, hydrology and climate change and modelization projects based on geological data.


Journalists wishing to attend the meeting need accreditation:

Isabelle Le Fournis, UNESCO Press Service : +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 48, i.le-fournis@unesco.org

Example of a IPGS project : learning from ancient earthquakes

International geoscience programme :http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/earth-sciences/international-geoscience-programme/

PGS project example: learning from ancient earthquakes: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/about-us/single-view/news/tales_set_in_stone_learning_from_ancient_earthquakes/

 Tales Set in Stone: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002152/215219e.pdf

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