In this interview during the opening ceremony of IYBSSD, Kathy Waler, President, International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, called on IUGG and other like-minded associations to partner in promoting SDGs and sustainable development.
What is IUGG planning to celebrate IYBSSD?
I would love us to get more involved in events with other like minded organisations.
I’m representing my organisation, the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, which is doing, I think, a lot of science that’s relevant, basic science that’s relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals and sustainable development in general.
What links can you make between research and sustainable development?
We have a number of associations that specialise in different areas of geodesy and geophysics, and at least four of them are interested in or doing science that’s relevant to climate change, which is obviously absolutely key to sustainable development. So we have people who work on the cryosphere on the atmosphere, the oceans and on hydrology. So, so that whole area of science is absolutely fundamental to understanding climate and understanding how we are changing the climate and natural climate change as well.
Does your research directly concern the population?
Particularly coastal societies in the global South, where they just need to be able to live and work and survive there and hopefully thrive there. And if you can’t deal with climate emergency, if you can’t understand its impacts, if you can’t forecast what you need to do to mitigate changes that are going to happen, then those whole areas are unsustainable and it effects huge numbers of people.
What is your best wish for this year to come?
I would love us to get more involved in events with other like minded organisations and to work together, as we were hearing this morning, to have a decade of science so translate a year into a decade.
Interview by Laurent Orluc