Sunday, June 26, 2005

"NEWS ALERT: UNESCO Division of Earth Sciences Terminated"

International Commission on Stratigraphy alert (undated)

"News has reached the International Union of Geological Sciences that UNESCO has decided to dissolve the Division of Earth Sciences. Following the retirement of Dr. Wolfgang Eder (Division Director) at the end of November 2004, a decision not to replace the Director was made by UNESCO. Further, UNESCO intends to dissolve the existing Division, reduce funding to the geosciences and to reallocate existing activities amongst other divisions.

"Although an 'official press release' will not occur until this spring, it is now known that the following activities: IGCP, Geoparks, International Cooperation, Earth Observation and Capacity Building will now be subsumed within the Division of Ecological Sciences. The Disaster Reduction program will be transferred to the Division of Basic and Engineering Sciences.

"Most disturbing is the news regarding support for the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP). After decades of high profile success in science research, this program will undergo a 50% reduction in funding from UNESCO for 2006. There are no assurances regarding the viability of the programme beyond 2006. Many geoscientists around the world have participated in and benefited directly from IGCP projects and this funding cut will have serious long-term repercussions to our discipline."

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