Better understanding of the Earth system is essential for the future of nature and humanity on Earth. UNESCO is the only United Nations organization with a mandate to support research and capacity building in geology and geophysics, and the International Geoscience Programme is the 50-year old flagship for IUGS-UNESCO collaboration.

The International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) serves as a knowledge hub of UNESCO to facilitate international scientific cooperation in the geosciences. The IGCP mission includes promoting sustainable use of natural resources, advancing new initiatives related to geo-diversity and geo-heritage and geohazards risk mitigation.

The IUGS-UNESCO IGCP promotes collaborative projects with a special emphasis on the benefit to society, capacity-building, and the advancement and sharing of knowledge between scientists with an emphasis on North-South and South-South cooperation. IGCP operates by providing seed funding grants donated by UNESCO, IUGS, and extra-budgetary sources. IGCP projects primarily deal with geosciences on global issues within its five themes: (click here to find out more about Earth Resources Sustaining Society)


Following the approval of 18 new and 40 ongoing projects by the IGCP Council during their 6th Council session in March 2021, 58 IGCP projects will be delivered by 326 IGCP project leaders from 91 countries in 2021 with the support of UNESCO, IUGS (link is external)Jeju Province Development Corporation (JPDC)(link is external) from the Republic of Korea and the National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO

Below are examples of summaries for a selection of IGCP projects click on the button below to find out more. 

Geoscience, or Earth science, is the scientific study of planet Earth. This includes its surface and the processes that shape it but also its interior and the dynamics that occur beneath the crust. Through the study of the oceans, the atmosphere, rivers and lakes, ice sheets and glaciers, volcanoes and earthquakes, earth science aims to understand how these systems work today, how they operated in the past and to predict how they may behave in the future. 

Geoscience also covers how living things, including humans, interact with the Earth, for example, through the resources we use or how water and ecosystems are interconnected. The overall aim of the SDGs is to pave the way for a far and  sustainable world and geoscience is at the core of this mission.Geoscience has the ability to grasp the complex interconnections between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, ecosphere and the geosphere, and a unique whole-planet perspective of the Earth system.


IUGS working with UNESCO through the IGCP projects helps support cutting-edge geoscience research and deliver society-enhancing projects which further help deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals ?

As a universal call to action, in 2015 the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to be implemented over fifteen years (2015-2030). With 17 objectives and 169 targets, the SDGs have the
overall aim to eradicate poverty and other deprivations, introduce strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth, while at the same time ensuring environmental protection. 

Scroll to Top