Geological surveys in 2030 : Major prospective issues

Category Other
Group GSI.IR
Location International Geological Congress,oslo 2008
Author Varet, Jacques
Holding Date 04 October 2008

The evolution of the world economy, demography and science in the coming 25 years is providing a framework for a strategic vision for geological survey organisations (GSO’s) worlwide.
We are lucky enough that the global tectonics and geology preceeded the globalization of the economy, the "progress" of which we observe now. It also preceeded the now evident fact that the demand of the whole world societies - inceasing in number and hopefuly equaly in access to wealth - will in the coming years hit the limits of conventional resources, wether for fossil fuels or for a few metals. At least for the presently exploited most favourable systems.
After 20 years of depleted employment for geoscientists, we now encouter a new challenge: while environmental and natural risks related issues will not decrease, the demand for energy, metals and minerals is inflating and will continue to grow in such a way that GSO’s and in general public systems (notably education) were not prepared. In addition, new challenges will become up-to-date (CO2, nuclear wastes, energy storages; new geothermal or "green metals" developments).
But above all this, the major challenge for GSO’s, mostly used to work at local and national scale, will be to develop the capacity to act jointly in order to make available for the - still to come ! - necessary multilateral regulatory institutions the global informations on resources and environment of the whole planet. Thanks to the progress of information technologies, we now have all the tools to make this operational. But the challenge in field data acquisition and harmonisation for interoperability is huge. The best way is to start this quickly from the regional level, as the strategic action plan of Eurogeosurveys is proposing for Europe. But this strategy still needs to be backed at EU political level. This is a mojor concern.
Still more challenging for all of us is our responsibility, as the OMM was able to promote with the IPCC, to work for the creation of a similar international panel concerning the geological resources, risks, and environment, in order to alert the opinion with clear surveying, reporting and "summary for policymakers". This is the major issue for ICOGS.