The IGC, which was founded in 1876, is the pre-eminent global geoscience congress – it provides a forum for presenting scientific results across the whole spectrum of the geosciences, facilitates the holding of business meetings, encourages international networking and provides the opportunity to study geological features of interest through field trips. Each IGC has had its own flavour and features, reflecting the circumstances in the host region and what it sees as important for such a large and prestigious event.
The IUGS (www.iugs.org) was created in 1961 to address global geological issues during the period between the IGCs. The IUGS promotes and encourages the study of geological problems, especially those of world-wide significance, and supports and facilitates international and interdisciplinary cooperation in the earth sciences. It is a legal entity, with elected office bearers, formally recognised Adhering Organisations which pay annual dues and Affiliated Organisations, a Secretariat, Commissions, Task Groups, Initiatives, and Joint Programs. The IGC-IUGS interaction has been positive for the geosciences. Whereas the IGC is the major scientific forum of the IUGS, it is not owned by the IUGS or any other body.
Until 2004, the IUGS reported to its Council comprising nominated representatives from the 122 nations that adhere to the Union. The IGC, in turn reported to its own Council, which was slightly wider in scope because it included representatives of all countries attending an IGC. This situation was rationalised at the Florence IGC where the two Councils were officially merged.
The IGC Committee (IGCC), which comprises Presidents and Secretary Generals of the past and pending IGCs as well as the Bureau members of the IUGS, looks after the ongoing interests of the IGC. In general, it has had two face-to-face meetings between recent IGCs, as well as meeting during each IGC.
The IUGS-IGC Council, enlarged to include the IGCC members, entrusts a selected partner country to organise an IGC, and that country thus bears the financial cost and assumes the responsibility to organise all the human resources and facilities. The IGCC maintains an appropriate level of communication with the Local Organising Committee for each IGC.
Current IGCC Members: Alberto Riccardi (joint chair), Arne Bjorlykke (joint chair), Ian Lambert (Secretary General), Neil Williams, Peter Bobrowsky, William Cavazza, Anders Solheim, Ernesto Abbate and Carlos Oití Berbert.
For the first time in the history of the IGC, a Memorandum of Understanding has been completed between the legal entity hosting the 34th IGC – the Australian Geoscience Council – and the IUGS. This sets out the general responsibilities of the host organization, the IUGS and the IGCC, including the capitation fee to be paid by the Congress to the IUGS.
At the June 2010 meeting of the IGCC in Brisbane, the decision was taken to limit the duration of the scientific program of the 34th IGC to 5 days – several days shorter than most previous IGCs. This decision reflected increasing time pressures on many delegates in the modern world and the high daily costs for venue hire. The large number of rooms available for concurrent sessions in the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and raised expectations for streamlined meeting arrangements made this possible.
The 34th IGC will be held under the IGC Statutes that were in force for the 32nd IGC, held in Florence in August 2004. The separate Statutes of the IUGS and IGC are currently being streamlined by an IUGS/IGC statutes and bye-laws committee to reflect the merger of Councils. The revised statutes will be considered by the combined Council at the 34th IGC.
Appointment of official delegates to the Joint IGC-IUGS Council
IUGS Adhering Organisations appoint delegates in accordance with countries or regions to represent them at the joint IUGS and IGC Council. Where no IUGS Adhering Organisation exists, IGC National Committees or other appropriate authorities of participating countries may appoint delegates, in accordance with article 5.7 of the Statutes of the IGC, to represent them at the joint IUGS and IGC Council. The delegates sit for the duration of the Congress.