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IYBSSD2022 given green light by United Nations

Michele Zema

International Years are proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) to mark particular events or topics in order to promote, through awareness and action, the objectives of the UN itself and, in turn, of society at large. The IUCr and the crystallographic community know this very well as they have certainly benefitted greatly from the International Year of Crystallography in 2014 (IYCr2014). Awareness about the importance of crystallography has increased enormously within the scientific community and the general public thanks to IYCr2014.

It is difficult to enumerate the many outcomes of IYCr2014:

  • we have seen the birth of two new regional crystallographic associations, namely the Latin American Crystallographic Association and the African Crystallographic Association, and several national crystallographic associations;
  • new crystallography laboratories and training centres have been inaugurated in several countries, particularly in the most disadvantaged regions of the world (see, for example, the many IUCr-UNESCO OpenLabs or the X-TechLab in Benin);
  • actions have been implemented for students of all ages to raise the awareness of crystallography (e.g. an international crystal-growing competition for schoolchildren; high-school teacher workshops; several schools and workshops for graduate, post-graduate and experienced crystallographers, which the IUCr supports through the sponsorship schemes managed by the Calendar Sub-Committee);
  • the IUCr is now actively involved in joint programmes with other scientific unions of the ISC network (e.g. the LAAAMP project) and in a number of initiatives in collaboration with other institutions.

It is then with great expectations that we look forward to the forthcoming International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD) that will be celebrated from mid-2022 to mid-2023 – see the official announcement below. This International Year, coordinated by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, will focus on the links between basic sciences and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Its main objectives are to enhance inclusive participation in science, strengthen education and scientific training, encourage increased funding of basic sciences and promote the concept of open science.

This is in fact perfectly in line with the aims of the IUCr, and the IUCr is proud to be one of the Founding Members of IYBSSD2022, as reported in an earlier issue of the IUCr Newsletter.

It is particularly interesting that celebrations for the Year of Mineralogy 2022, as proclaimed by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) under the auspices of UNESCO, will be formally part of IYBSSD. The IUCr will partner with IMA in this initiative as well.

In conclusion, IYBSSD offers a new opportunity to enhance the stature of crystallography, build capacity in developing regions of the world and extend further the public understanding of science, which are the three main objectives of the “Crystallography for the Next Generation” manifesto, and to establish new collaborations within the scientific community. There are many exciting events ahead that the crystallographic community is not going to miss!


The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly for 2022

We need more basic sciences to achieve Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is the message sent to the world by the United Nations General Assembly on 2 December 2021: Member States approved by consensus the resolution 76/A/L.12 promulgating the year 2022 as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD2022).

With this resolution, the United Nations General Assembly ‘invites all [its] Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other global, regional and subregional organizations, as well as other relevant stakeholders, including academia, civil society, inter alia, international and national non-governmental organizations, individuals and the private sector, to observe and raise awareness of the importance of basic sciences for sustainable development, in accordance with national priorities’.

The United Nations General Assembly motivated its decision with ‘the high value for humankind of basic sciences’, and with the fact that ‘enhanced global awareness of, and increased education in, the basic sciences is vital to attain sustainable development and to improve the quality of life for people all over the world’. It also stressed that ‘basic sciences and emerging technologies respond to the needs of humankind by providing access to information and increasing the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and societies’. The successes and difficulties of the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic have been for two years a stark reminder of this importance of basic sciences, such as (but not limited to) biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and anthropology.

The vote is the result of the mobilization of the international scientific community, led since 2017 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), CERN (the European Laboratory for Particle Physics), and 26 other international scientific unions and research organizations from different parts of the world, under the auspices of UNESCO. Over 90 national and international science academies, learned societies, scientific networks, research and education centres are also supporting this initiative. They will organize events and activities all over the planet during this special year, to showcase and improve the links between basic sciences and the 17 SDGs.

The resolution was proposed to the United Nations General Assembly by Honduras, and co-sponsored by 36 other countries. Its vote confirms resolution 40/C 76 adopted unanimously by the UNESCO General Conference on 25 November 2019.

The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD2022) will be officially inaugurated with an opening conference 30 June–1 July 2022 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. Events and activities will be organized around the world until 30 June 2023.


Michel Spiro, President of the IYBSSD2022 Steering Committee,

Luc Allemand, Secretary General of IYBSSD2022,


For more information, including the member organizations of the IYBSSD2022 Steering Committee and the full list of countries that co-sponsored the resolution, please visit

15 December 2021

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