International declaration: Geoscience expertise is crucial for meeting global societal challenges

A new declaration endorsed by GSA, the European Geosciences Union, and other international geoscience societies affirms the commitment of the Earth, planetary and space science community to support and promote scientific knowledge and research for the benefit of humanity.

Munich, Germany: The specialized knowledge and skills that geoscientists possess are crucial for providing the essential resources and healthy environments that humanity needs to thrive. To highlight this relevance, six of the world’s largest geoscience societies have endorsed a declaration affirming the commitment of the international geoscience community to apply its expertise to meet societal challenges and pledging to work together to support essential geoscience research.

In the Declaration of the Significance of Geoscience Expertise to MeetGlobal Societal Challenges, the organizations emphasize that humanity’s ability to both anticipate and meet current and future challenges depends upon the development of innovative science and technology, to understand their origins and to implement successful strategies for addressing them. In the document, the societies also recognize their shared responsibility to utilize scientific research results to increase humanity’s resilience to single, as well as multiple and interrelated, societal challenges, whose cascading effects can only be understood by carrying out complex analyses with which geoscientists have particular expertise.

In addition to reaffirming their commitment to use science to help humanity prevent, prepare for, and recover from regional and global crises, the organizations pledge to effectively communicate research results to improve the public trust in science. The societies, including the European Geosciences Union, The American Geophysical Union, the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, the Geological Society of America, the Japan Geoscience Union and The Geological Society of London, further agree to support policy makers and evidence-informed decision making for the benefit of society and the planet.

“As the scope, complexity and urgency of challenges like the coronavirus outbreak or environmental change escalate, the expertise of geoscientists becomes increasingly relevant and important,” says EGU President Alberto Montanari. “Due to their unique skillsets, Earth, planetary and space scientists have a duty, as well as an obligation, to openly and transparently address key societal issues that are of everyday relevance to people around the globe.”

The declaration was issued today to coincide with the start of the European Geosciences Union’s annual General Assembly. Traditionally held in Vienna each spring, the meeting this year will instead be conducted virtually due to the ongoing pandemic. This change will enable a large community of scientists, policymakers, and journalists, as well as members of the public, to learn about the latest results of thousands of geoscience research projects taking place around the globe.

“By working together,” says Montanari, “geoscientists will leverage our ability to implement feasible solutions to help realise a sustainable and just future for people, our shared planet and its vital ecosystems.”

Press Contact:
Terri Cook
Head of Media, Communications and Outreach
European Geosciences Union
Munich, Germany
EGU on Twitter: @EuroGeosciences

The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 20,000 members around the world from academia, government, and industry. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.

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For Immediate Release
4 May 2020
GSA Release No. 20-14

GSA-EGU Joint Release
GSA Contact:

Christa Stratton