International Year of Planet Earth

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth to increase awareness of the importance of Earth sciences for the advancement of sustainable development . [1] UNESCO was designated as the lead agency. The Year’s activities spanned the three years 2006-2009. [2]


The Year aims to raise $ 20 million from industry and governments, of which half is to be spent on co-funding research, and half on “outreach” activities. It was intended to be the biggest international effort to promote the Earth sciences.

Apart from researchers, who were expected to benefit under the Year’s Science Program, the main target groups for the year’s broader messages were:

  • Decision Makers and Politicians, to Better Inform Them Earth Science Knowledge Can Be Used for Sustainable Development
  • The voting public, to communicate with them
  • Geoscientists, to help them use their knowledge of various aspects of the Earth for the benefit of the world’s population.

The research themes of the year, set out in ten science perspectives, were chosen for their societal relevance, multidisciplinary nature, and outreach potential. The year had twelve founding partners, 23 associates, and was backed politically by 97 countries representing 87% of the world’s population. The Year Was Promoted politically at UNESCO and at the United Nations in New York by the People’s Republic of Tanzania .

The Year encourages contributions from researchers within ten separate themes. The outreach program worked in a similar way, receiving support for individuals and organizations worldwide.

The Year’s Project Leader was IUGS President Professor Eduardo FJ of Mulder. The Year’s Science Committee was chaired by Dr. Edward Derbyshire ( Royal Holloway ) and its Outreach Committee by Dr. Ted Nield ( Geological Society of London ).

The International Year of Planet Earth was jointly commissioned by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO ). The UN press release reads: “By a draft on the International Year of Planet Earth, 2008, which the Committee approved without a vote on 11 November, the Assembly would declare the International Year of Planet Earth. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to Organize Activities in the Year, in collaboration with UNEPand other relevant United Nations bodies, the International Union of Geological Sciences and other Earth sciences societies and groups throughout the world. Also by that draft, the Assembly would encourage Member States, the United Nations system and other actors to use the Year to increase awareness of the importance of Earth science in sustainable development and local, national, regional and international action. ”


The project was backed by the following founding partners:

  • International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG)
  • International Geographical Union
  • International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS)
  • International Lithosphere Program (ILP)
  • National Geological Survey of the Netherlands (NITG-TNO)
  • Geological Society of London
  • International Soil Reference and Information Center (ISRIC)
  • A consortium of the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG)
  • International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM)
  • International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE)
  • International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA)
  • American Geological Institute (AGI)
  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
  • American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)

The Year is also supported by 23 Associate Partners, including all major international geoscientific and other relevant organizations:

  • International Council for Science (ICSU)
  • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC)
  • International Permafrost Association (IPA)
  • International Association on the Genesis of Ore Deposits (IAGOD)
  • Society of Economic Geologists (SEG)
  • Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA)
  • International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH)
  • International Geoscience Program (IGCP)
  • European Federation of Geoscientists (EFG)
  • African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE)
  • Science Council of Asia (SCA)
  • European Association for the Conservation of Geological Heritage (ProGEO)
  • Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM)
  • Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programs in East and Southeast Asia (CCOP)
  • Geological Society of Africa (GSAf)
  • United Nations University (UNU)
  • Association of Geoscientists for International Development (AGID)
  • United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN / ISDR)
  • North-eastern Science Foundation (USA) (NESF)
  • Association of American State Geologists (AASG)
  • International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)
  • Geological Society of America (GSA)
  • North American Committee for Stratigraphic Nomenclature (NACSN)


The Year’s stated objective was:

Reduce Risks for society Caused by natural and human-induced hazards , reduce health problems by Improving understanding of the medical aspects of Earth science , discover new natural resources and make ’em available in a sustainable Manner, build safer structures and expand urban areas , Utilizing natural subsurface conditions determine the non-human factor in climatic change, Enhance understanding of the occurrence of natural resources so as to contribuer to efforts to Reduce political tension detect deep and poorly available groundwater resources, Improve understanding of the evolution of life, increase interest in the Earth sciences in society at large, encourages more people to study Earth science in university.


Research themes for the Year included:

  • Groundwater : reservoir for a thirsty planet?
  • Hazards : minimizing risk, maximizing awareness
  • Earth and Health : building a safer environment
  • Climate change : the ‘stone tape’
  • Resource Issues: towards sustainable use
  • Megacities : going deeper, building safer
  • Deep Earth : from crust to core
  • Ocean : abyss of time
  • Soil : Earth’s living skin
  • Earth and Life : origins of diversity

Output and Legacy

As part of the IYPE Legacy, 80 National and Regional IYPE Committees have been set up to bring together key figures from various organizations in the world.

The Young Earth-Science Initiative (YES) was also created, providing a platform for young professionals in the Earth sciences . Initiated by two Italian geoscientists, David Govoni and Luca Micucci , it started in 2007 and grew rapidly at the Global Launch Event of the IYPE in Paris in 2008, during which many young geoscientists were invited to participate. From there, the YES Initiative expanded, eventually adopted a formal structure, a network of supporting organizations (including IYPE) and an invitation by the Chinese government to host the International YES Conference in October 2009 in Beijing .

An international collaborative project known as OneGeology is one of the world’s leading companies in the digital world, providing digital world access to the digital world. million. That initiative, spearheaded by Ian Jackson of the British Geological Survey , came under the IYPE banner in 2007.

See also

  • International Geophysical Year
  • Scientific opinion on climate change
  • United Nations International Years


  1. Jump up^ United Nations General Assembly Session 60 Resolution 192A / RES / 60/192 22 December 2005. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
  2. Jump up^ International Year of Planet Earth: FAQ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *