Toward the IGU Strategy for 2015-2022
According to the Statutes, the IGU is an international, nongovernmental, nonprofit scientific organization. Its activity is based on the principles of voluntary participation, equal rights of all its members, self-governance, legitimacy and transparency.
The main general purposes of the International Geographical Union’s activity in 2015-2022 will be:
- to participate in the coordination of research, the discussion of their results and the elaboration of major international documents on global and regional problems of sustainable development; to promote the studies contributing to the improvement of the quality of life, modernization of economy, social justice and environmental security by the means of regional, urban and landscape planning;
- to work out and to coordinate international initiatives concerning the protection of bio- and cultural diversity, natural and cultural heritage, geographical and environmental education and the dissemination of geographical knowledge;
- to stimulate a creative interaction between geography and other Earth and social sciences, as well as cooperation and integration between natural and social wings of geography;
- to support modernization of geographical studies through the application of the newest ICT methods, the use of data bases and integration with technical sciences;
- to promote geography in international governmental organizations and at the national level, contribute to its better visibility for decision-makers and business community, in society at large.
1. The IGU should be a truly global organization
The IGU should be competitive as the main and a truly global international geographical organization, respected by the geographical community and outside it, representing all continents and regions of the world. The participation in IGU activities should be considered as an important stage in an academic carrier, and the elections to IGU Commissions or the Executive – as an international recognition of a scholar’s achievements.
This objective can be reached through:
- involvement of new country members;
- improvement of cooperation with geographers from the countries of Tropical Africa, Latin America and other regions, not yet sufficiently participating in the activity of IGU, including regional networks;
- development of closer contacts with IGU Commissions and Task Forces, in particular, through the dissemination of their best practice, the stimulation of joint projects and events sponsored by several commissions and through attributing IGU awards;
- increase of the International Geographical Congresses’ and Regional Conferences’ prestige, their better accessibility for young scholars and the participants from low income countries, diversification and modernization of their format with the support of IGU Commissions, informal groups and separate scholars;
- organizations of IGU interdisciplinary and policy oriented international conferences (for instance, devoted on risks and hazards, energy, geography and mass media, the use of international data bases, etc.);
- better functional division of labour between the members of IGU EC.
2. The IGU should play a leading role in territorial and environmental research
The IGU should play a visible role among international scientific unions and associations. It should become the main global inter- and intra-disciplinary coordination platform for the leading geographical and environmental research institutes and laboratories, universities and other organizations.
The means for reaching this objective are:
- creation of the cluster of sciences on territory with geography as its core;
- participation in the activity of ICSU and ISSC, in particular, through IGU representatives in their councils and assemblies;
- larger involvement of IGU representatives in the work of international governmental organizations and committees of the UN system;
- development of joint activity with the international programme “Future Earth”;
- coordination of joint initiatives and projects with European geographical associations – Eugeo and Eurogeo;
- launch of new IGU projects;
- exchange of information and business contacts with other world scientific unions and associations working in neighboring fields, invitation of their representatives to IGU events and participation of IGU in their meetings;
- contacts with national geographical societies, research organizations, universities, ministries and governmental agencies, business associations;
- contribution to cultural diversity of geographical research;
- development of the open data and the open access concepts and practice;
- publication of the series of “IGU monographs”.
3. The IGU should promote geography and to be better integrated in the international media space
The IGU should establish successful public relations with its own community, decision makers at different levels and society at large.
This objective can be reached through:
- regular updating and modernization of the IGU website, putting on it news of interest for public received from correspondents in different countries, archival materials, references to other relevant international and national sites, bibliography and information on current IGU projects;
- improvement of the IGU brand and symbols which should be better known and easily recognizable;
- participation in social networks;
- realization of a special business plan for using the opportunities opened by the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the International Year on Global Understanding initiated by IGU;
- development of the project “Our Sustainable Cities” (OurSus);
- establishing together with Commissions relations with international organizations of tourism and business community (for instance, in organizing the IGU award for the best tourist guide and/or other product);
- establishing together with Commissions relations with the leading institutions in the field of GIS and organization of joint events;
- rising the prestige of the main IGU awards and mediating their handling;
- using the IGU centennial and the extraordinary International Geographical Congress in Paris for improving the image of geography and IGU; transforming it into a memorable international event.
- taking new measures like the establishment of an award to the geographer whose work had the most visible and real impact on society, and for the best research project; appointment of IGU speakpersons on the most important global issues; use of various memorable dates.
4. Geographical education should be a focus of IGU activity
Geographical education is vitally important for citizens of the XXI century and for all national geographical communities. Together with other international and national institutions, the IGU is responsible for keeping geography in curricula and for modernization of geographical courses in secondary school.
This objective includes:
- elaboration of the internationally approved minimum of geographical knowledge for each citizen in the XXI century;
- adoption of the new Chart of Geographical Education;
- lobbying of geography at international and national governmental organizations (UNESCO, EU, etc.);
- identification and dissemination of the best practices of teaching at secondary school and at universities; elaboration of recommendations for teaching geography at schools of managements, technical universities, etc.;
- organization of the IGU competition for the best geography textbook for secondary schools and for universities in different nominations;
- development of contacts and cooperation with international organizations of young scholars – EGEA (European Geography Association for students and young geographers) and YES (World Earth Young Scientists);
- establishment of IGU summer school for young scientists;
- organization of a special day for young geographers at each International Geographical Congress and Regional Conference;
- participation at the International Geographical Festival (FIG) in Saint Dié, France, and other similar events.