International Council for
Philosophy and Human Sciences

International Year of Global Understanding planning under way


Members of the IYGU Steering Committee in Weimar, February 2011. Photo: Eduardo de Mulder

 The first meeting of the Steering Committee of the International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU) took place in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Weimar (Germany) on 4-5 March, 2011.

The UN-IYGU is to be a comprehensive, transdisciplinary programme aimed at mobilizing the world’s sciences and humanities in a unified effort to raise citizen awareness of local human capacities to affect natural and social systems at global scales, and simultaneously to build local and regional pressure on policy makers to adopt global mitigation targets. The ISSC General Assembly 2010 endorsed the ISSC’s support of this International Geographical Union-led initiative.

At this first Steering Committee meeting, representatives of the ISSC, CIPSH (International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies) and IHDP (ISSC co-sponsored International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change) articulated their expectations regarding contributions to and results from the IYGU, also in regard to natural sciences. The Executive Director of the International Year of Planet Earth, Prof. Ed de Mulder, presented a stimulating overview of the planning strategies, the implementation and the results of IYPE and offered many useful insights for the ongoing process of formulating IYGU. Later, gender issues as well as ethical and educational dimensions of the project were also addressed prior to an extensive discussion of the outline and core topics of the scientific programme with its outreach activities.

Altogether, this initial meeting successfully established the transdisciplinary nature of IYGU: it explored ways of addressing the shortcomings of the social sciences and the humanities in dealing with global change issues as well as the need for natural scientists to understand that global climate change requires global social change. This very encouraging first step towards meeting one of the major challenges of humanity during the coming decades will be followed with a meeting of the Scientific Panel of IYGU in Jena, Germany at the beginning of May.

Further information, including video recordings from the Weimar meeting, will soon be available on the IYGU homepage.


March 2011

  Article Source : ISSC
March 20, 2011