International Years and Decades

The ISC endorses or co-sponsors and participates actively in many international scientific events, including International Years or Decades of Science initiated and implemented by ISC Members, the United Nations, and partners.

Soil in man's hand
2015 – 2024

International Decade of Soil Health

Soil health and its sustainable management is critically important in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations

Križna Cave Slovenia
2021 – 2022

International Year of Caves and Karst

Organized by the International Union of Speleology, to inform the world of the great value of caves to humanity

2021 – 2030

UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

Organized under the leadership of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO


International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development

Organized under the leadership of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics


International Year of Science Engagement

Planned to be organized in 2027 under the aegis of UNESCO, its purpose is to strengthen the role of global Science Engagement toward the achievement of Agenda 2030 and the United Nations SDGs.

Past international years and decades

Nara, Japan, Boy bangs a gong.
2020 – 2021

International Year of Sound

A global initiative to highlight the importance of sound and related sciences and technologies for all in society


International Year of Plant Health

Inspiring people to learn more about plant health, which we all depend on, and to take concrete action

periodic table

International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements

The development of the Periodic Table of the Elements is one of the most significant achievements in science.

Upside down lightbulbs

International Year of Light

Raising public awareness of the importance of photonics (the science and technology of generating, controlling and detecting photons, or light particles)

Polar bear mother with two cubs waiting on a snowy sandbank in northern Alaska for the see ice to come
2007 – 2008

International Polar Year

Sponsored by ICSU and the WMO, it became the largest coordinated research program in the Earth’s polar regions

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