Following recent discussions at the 2018 Resources for Future Generations conference in Vancouver and at the March 2020 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada meeting, an initiative to form a World Community of Geological Surveys has taken root.
We encourage all members of the World Community to read the papers written by GSO leaders in the recently published book* “The Changing Role of Geological Surveys”. In the Epilogue to this volume, D. Lebel and P.R. Hill provide a retrospective on past efforts to form an international consortium of GSOs and make some suggestions towards on how a world association of GSOs may become useful, credible, and workable.
Inspired by the long-held motto of the environmental movement, ‘Think globally, act locally’, and the basic tenets of ‘living systems’ approaches, it is proposed that the new ‘World Community of Geological
Surveys’ (WCOGS) would have the following characteristics:
-A digitally-based community focused on the needs of Geological Survey Organizations (GSOs), such as developing common standards, supporting capacity building, sharing best practices, discussing issues and developing projects of common and critical interests.
-Use the reduced costs and efficiencies of videoconferencing, web-based conferences and document sharing that has emerged in the scientific community as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic crises.
-Emphasize global engagement from the start, through a small steering committee of ‘champions’, representative of all continents, who are willing to invest effort, resources and influence to set the direction and governance of the community.
-Examine, complement, support and build on the successes of current GSO Associations (e.g. EGS, ASGMI, OAGS, CCOP, AASG, NGSC), which will be deemed core constituents of WCOGS.
-Capitalize on existing communication channels to encourage participation in unique and useful niche events. Such practice will also provide opportunities for face-to-face meetings between GSO leaders from all continents.
-Hold events that engage GSO leadership teams and support GSOs’ influence on their governments and with stakeholders. Examples would be ‘Geoscience for Policy’ discussions, issue-oriented projects and capacity-building workshops and exchanges.
-Support and facilitate OneGeology and other GSO initiatives.
-A simple, frugal organisation, adjusting its resource level to be commensurate to its success and the desires of its membership, yet starting with a level sufficient to reduce the risk of failure from the start.
*Hill, P.R., Lebel, D., Hitzman,
M., Smelror, M and Thorleifson, H (eds)
The Changing Role of Geological Surveys.
Geological Society of London, Special Publication 499, https://sp.lyellcollection.org/online-first/499.
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