7 International Years for Basic Sciences

In 2017, Michel Spiro, recently elected “President-designate” of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), attends a meeting of the Scientific Board of UNESCO’s International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP).

This meeting is an opportunity to look back on the six International Scientific Years that have animated the decade 2005-2015:

The representative of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) also talked about the preparation of the International Year of the Periodic Table, to be held in 2019.


15 Years for Sustainable Development

In September 2015, during the United Nations General Assembly, all member States endorsed Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

1 International Year combining Basic Sciences and Sustainable Development

Michel Spiro then proposed that scientists from all the basic disciplines should mobilise, in order to show the importance of their contributions to progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

An International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development would show the ways in which curiosity-driven research is vital to ensure good health for all, to overcome hunger, to fight climate change, to preserve terrestrial and marine biodiversity, but also to increase world peace and fight inequalities. Together, researchers from all fields will reach out to the general public and to decision-makers, both public and private, to support the development of the basic sciences, especially in parts of the world where they are still insufficiently developed.

Michel Spiro also proposes that this International Year should take place in 2022 and 2023, midway through Agenda 2030. In addition, 2022 will mark the centenary of two important international scientific unions, IUPAP (Physics) and the International Mathematical Union (IMU).


The initiative was enthusiastically welcomed by the international unions that were represented to this meeting:

Soon, other organizations join the movement:

See full list of unions and partners

The International Mineralogical Association also proposes to celebrate an International Year of Mineralogy within IYBSSD.

International Support

The ambassador of Jordan at UNESCO, with the support of his colleagues from Viet Nam, Russia and Nigeria first, and then from some 10 other countries, submitted a resolution for the establishment of the International Year to the Organization’s Executive Board in October 2019. This resolution was adopted in November 2019 by UNESCO’s General Conference.

The COVID-19 pandemic created some delay, but the 2nd December 2021, the United Nations General Assembly approved by consensus a resolution promulgating 2022 as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development.