The 69th Executive Committee Meeting of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) was held in the Stone Forest Global Geopark in Shilin County of Yunnan Province, China on January 18-19, 2016 and 56 participants from 14 countries including China, Switzerland, Spain, the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Italy, Russia and some other countries attended the meeting.
69th IUGS Executive Committee Meeting held in Shilin Global Geopark,Yunnan Province
During the meeting, IUGS Committees, Commissions, Task Groups, some Adhering Organizations and Affiliated Organizations reported the work accomplished in 2015 and discussed the work plan in 2016, and participants carried out extensive and in-depth discussions on the IUGS development strategies and preparations for the coming 35th International Geological Congress to be held in Cape Town, South Africa on August 27-September 4, 2016.
Post-meeting field excursions were organized to the Stone Forest Global Geopark, Kunyang Phosphorite Mine and Precambrian-Cambrian boundary at Meishucun section.
IUGS, a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU), was established in 1961 in Paris, France. As one of the largest and most active non-governmental scientific organization in the world, IUGS has been in close cooperation with UNESCO in the International Geosciences Programme (IGCP) and geoparks development.
During UNESCO's 38th General Conference held in November 2015, the new UNESCO "International Geosciences and Geoparks Program (IGGP)" was officially approved. All the existing global geoparks have been included in the Program and designated as UNESCO Global Geoparks. According to the agreements with UNESCO, IUGS annually recommends experts to carry out field and desk evaluation to aspiring geoparks and provide professional scientific assessments to UNESCO.
Prof. Zhang Hongren (right), the former IUGS President
and former Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources of P.R. China,
was awarded the IUGS Medal of Honor
China began to develop global geoparks in 2003. At present there are 189 national geoparks located in 31 provinces plus the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, among which 33 are global geoparks, ranking first in the world. Since the Stone Forest was designated as a global geopark in 2004, local authorities allocated annually 3 billion RMB for geopark conservation. A four-level management system (Bureau-Town-Village Committee-village), was established to ensure the effective management of the geopark area. The Stone Forest Global Geopark has made substantial achievements in geoscientific research and popularization.
The IUGS EC Meeting being held in a Chinese Global Geopark reflected that IUGS fully acknowledged the achievements made by China in geoparks development. It was also a great opportunity for Chinese Global Geoparks to present to the world the valuable experiences in geoscience research, geoheritage protection and geoparks management.Prof. R. Oberhänsli, the IUGS President, Mr. Bai Xingbi, Deputy Director General of the Department of Science, Technology and International Cooperation, Ministry of Land and Resources of P.R. China, Mr. Zhou Linchun, Director General of the Stone Forest Geopark Administrative Bureau, delivered addresses respectively at the opening ceremony. Prof. Zhang Hongren, the former IUGS President and former Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources of P.R. China, was awarded the IUGS Medal of Honor for his long-term and significant contributions to IUGS.