On the 22nd June 2021, representatives from almost all of the world’s geographical societies met to discuss their individual and collective responses to environmental crises.

Jointly organised by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the Royal Geographical Society (https://protect-za.mimecast.com/s/qMkzCwjyBrS53ZmyTVMJSF) and the International Geographical Union, the online meeting was attended by over 65 delegates from 30 countries. Participants discussed the challenges and ideas around the biodiversity and climate crisis, and shared current activities in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals and the upcoming UN Conferences of Parties on Biodiversity (COP 15) in Kunming China, and Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow. As a result, participants developed a joint statement and ideas for collaborations in the future.

Professor Joe Smith, Director of the Society, said: “The meeting captured the great scale and breadth of contribution to these key global challenges by geographers all over the planet across decades. Geography and geographical bodies have made a huge contribution to knowledge, engagement and action on biodiversity and climate change. But at the gathering we also provoked each other to stretch our ambitions, and commit to greater contributions in future.”

Professor Michael Meadows, President of the IGU, commenting on the significance of the meeting, noted: “Even as the global population reels in the face of the most serious health crisis in over a century, the climate crisis is affecting all of our lives. Geographers have a very special skillset in terms of teaching and research that can – and indeed must – be harnessed through the kind of cooperation that the international community of Geographical Societies is able to foster in order to help mitigate the myriad problems associated with human impact on the environment”.

Ahead of the biodiversity and climate change COPs later this year, the societies will release a joint statement on the issues discussed at the gathering.