Planet Earth - Launch of International Year at UNESCO

13 February 2008

Building safer, healthier and wealthier societies around the globe by using the knowledge of the worlds 400,000 earth scientists more effectively is the main goal of the International Year of Planet Earth - Earth science for Society- launched on 12 and 13 February at UNESCO Headquarters.

Hosted by Koichiro Matsuura, UNESCOs Director-General, the event will bring together top scientists, Chief Executive Officers of leading industries and political decision makers. They will be joined by students from around the world, selected for their creativity on the basis of a geosciences contest organized in 2007. Debates will focus on three themes: Population growth and climate change: challenges for Planet Earth; Earth resources: threat or treat? Geo hazards: minimizing risk, maximizing awareness.

A joint initiative of UNESCO and the International Union of Geological Science (IUGS), the Planet Earth runs from January 2007 to December 2009, the central year of the triennium, 2008, having been proclaimed the United Nations (UN) year by the UN General Assembly. The Year contributes to the UNs sustainable development goals by promoting wise use of Earth materials and encouraging better planning and management to reduce risks for the worlds inhabitants. It strives to attract more young people to geosciences, to reach out to the general public by highlighting the central importance of Earth sciences for our future and to encourage political leaders to use the available knowledge to shape their national policies. It also calls on scientists to work on ten broad themes particularly relevant to society: health, climate, groundwater, the oceans, soils, deep earth, megacities, hazards, resources and life.

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