ann21063 — Announcement

Logo IYBSSD 2022
8 December 2021
IAU to help coordinate the UN International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development in 2022

On 2 December 2021, the General Assembly of the United Nations officially declared 2022 the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD). The International Astronomical Union (IAU) serves on the steering committee of IYBSSD and will help to coordinate the year’s activities, together with other scientific institutions.

This designation reflects “the high value of basic sciences for humankind”, and 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”. The UN General Assembly also emphasised that “basic sciences and emerging technologies respond to the needs of humankind by providing access to information and increasing the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities, and societies”. The successes and difficulties of the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic during the past two years have been a stark reminder of this.

The IAU has long recognised the roles of basic sciences for sustainable development. To further the use of astronomy for this purpose, in 2011 the IAU established a dedicated Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) in partnership with the South African National Research Foundation and Department of Science and Innovation. The OAD actively supports projects around the globe that employ astronomy, including its practitioners, skills and infrastructures, to support sustainable development.

IYBSSD2022 will be officially inaugurated at an opening conference from 30 June to 1 July 2022 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. Over 90 national and international science academies, learned societies, scientific networks and research and education centres are also supporting this initiative. They will organise events and activities across the world between 30 June 2022 and 30 June 2023 to showcase and improve the links between basic sciences and the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The full resolution proclaiming IYBSSD2022 is available online.

More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12 000 active professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

The IAU established the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) in partnership with the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. The OAD was officially opened on 16 April 2011 at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town, South Africa. As of 2021, the OAD has administered approximately €1,000,000 in grant funds, awarded to more than 200 projects across the world. Since its establishment the OAD has negotiated the establishment of eleven regional offices around the world (based in Armenia, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Jordan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Thailand, USA and Zambia) with two of these offices serving as a joint language centre (Chinese and Arabic), and one serving as a dedicated language centre (Portuguese).


Kevin Govender
IAU Office of Astronomy for Development

Ramasamy Venugopal
IAU Office of Astronomy for Development

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Cell: +1 520 461 0433/+49 173 38 72 621

About the Announcement



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