This annual celebration of geodiversity was approved in 2021 by 193 Member States participating in the biennial UNESCO General Conference in Paris. The approval followed a request by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and 108 other scientific organizations to declare International Geodiversity Day to raise awareness of the many benefits that geodiversity provides to people, society and the environment.
Geodiversity is a natural part of the planet that includes non-living elements such as minerals, rocks, fossils, soils, sediments, landforms, and hydrological features. It provides materials for construction and supports agricultural systems by providing soil and water. Geodiversity also serves as a source of energy production, including materials used for wind turbines and solar panels. It inspires artists and fascinates tourists through its diverse landscapes. However, many people are unaware of the extent to which we depend on geodiversity. Therefore, it is crucial to promote a better understanding of Earth's dynamic processes to ensure that citizens can make informed political decisions for a more sustainable society, which is a key element in achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. In this sense, International Geodiversity Day is an opportunity to showcase how education in geological sciences can provide sustainable solutions to urgent problems such as responsible resource extraction, disaster risk reduction, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity loss. It also raises awareness of the critical connections between geodiversity and all forms of life. UNESCO, as the only UN body mandated to support research and capacity building in geology and geophysics, will use International Geodiversity Day to promote the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to create new UNESCO Global Geoparks, particularly in Africa, the Arab region, and Latin America.