International Year of Global Understanding – IYGU info

On Sunday, 13 September 2015, three international assemblies – natural, social sciences and humanities (ICSU, ISSC, CIPSH) – has declared 2016 the International Year of global understanding (IYGU- International Year of Global Understanding), at the World Forum on Social Sciences in Durban in South Africa.ere



  • IYGU is linking local action with global challenges
  • IYGU focuses on global sustainability of local operation
  • IYGU recognizes cultural different paths to global sustainability

The international year of global understanding (IYGU) solves the ways in which we inhabit increasingly globalized world. How to transform the nature? How to build new social and political relations in the growing global reality? Societies and cultures determine how we live with nature and how it is formed. Affect how we see the global consequences of our everyday actions. In order to overcome global challenges, we need to understand what our daily activities mean for the world as a whole.


Global environmental change

Our environment is changing in many ways: climate change, loss of biodiversity and ecosystems, increased frequency and intensity of extreme events, desertification and land degradation and deforestation – those are just some of the many challenges in the environment with which we are faced.


It is necessary to improve our understanding of the process of the Earth’s system, as well as socio-cultural context of human action. Also, we must strengthen the meaning, usage and social acceptance of existing knowledge. Although there is sometimes a lack of awareness of the global consequences of everyday life, effectively converting knowledge into action usually leads to a gap between knowledge and acting – another challenge that will IYGU initiatives seek to tackle. Very important thing is better integration of different types of knowledge and skills in the production process. IYGU initiative has a transdisciplinary approach in an effort of integration of academic knowledge from all disciplines (social and natural sciences and the humanities), all kinds of knowledge (scientific, traditional, local, traditional, etc.) and all stakeholders (decision makers, NGOs, businesses, engaging the public, etc.).

Variable geography – global reach of local actions

In recent decades, the space-time conditions in everyone’s life have changed dramatically, directly or indirectly. With the development of the digital revolution, socio-cultural practices are now (at least potentially) global reach, as well as the consequences of human transformation of natural reality. With the global change and globalization of everyday life, we are faced with a situation without precedent. Generally speaking, we experience adverse effects of problem solving during the 19th and 20th centuries. We are faced with global climate changes that are inextricably linked.

Scientific and political confrontation

However, political institutions are not ready for this construction. Our political institutions are still (mostly) national in scope. In order to bridge the gap between global issues and national strategies of problem solving, we should nurture global understanding and improve international cooperation in terms of policies which are dealing with climate issues and global issues. In addition, and irrespective of length scales, there is a great need to improve the conversion of research findings of global change and research on the sustainability of effective policies that will prevent the worst consequences of non-impaired global changes in the environment. International cooperation and national measures must be harmonized in order to give the best possible results for society and ecosystems.



Linking global and local

  • Everyday activities are important for global climate changes
  • Everyday decisions depend on the lifestyle
  • A global view reduces the risk of regional conflicts

The world is faced with social, cultural and economic changes as well as changes in the climate. Human actions play a key role in the creation of such changes in the world. However, human activity also provides solutions. If individuals know what their daily routines mean for the planet, they can take appropriate measures. Global understanding helps overcome the gap between knowledge and action and support the political decisions that promote sustainability.

People’s habits

  • Global problems require sustainable solutions
  • Sustainable change should start from the bottom

Global challenges require urgent action, but we should consider setting targets and political action. We cannot afford to wait for the decision of the competent supervisor – it may never happen. The change should come from the lowest level instead. Individuals elect, vote, do policies at the local, regional and national levels. Widespread global understanding embeds awareness of the global consequences of individual choices, IYGU initiative seeks for the sustainable change that starts from the lowest level.

Doctrine and everyday life

  • Everyday life and science come together
  • A global understanding is based on common social and natural scientific research
  • The research should deal with the logic of everyday life

Global understanding calls for reconciliation of global and local, science and everyday life. IYGU focuses on essential daily activities such as eating, drinking, housing, work, travel and communication. Why we made this choice? Why society, rich and poor, make more global sustainable choice? Natural and social scientists will jointly provide answers.

Sustainability and understanding

  • Climate changes are an example of the connection between global and local effects
  • Global change may be climatic, social, cultural and economic
  • Society requires a global understanding in order to be sustainably changed

Global sustainability cannot happen without local sustainability. Actions and thoughts that may seem separated in space and time are often significantly related. True global understanding enables people to create such a link. Many people are aware of the needs of sustainability, but only few take the appropriate decisions. IYGU’s main objective is to promote global understanding, so that the actions and decisions make sustainable results, every day, around the world.



  • IYGU will make global processes and challenges understandable
  • IYGU will include research, learning and information
  • IYGU will highlight the power of everyday, local elections with the aim of global change
  • IYGU will remind global citizens to their global responsibilities

The aim of the initiative is to reach deep, and effective insights into how all nations can live together in a more sustainable way. The emphasis will be on developing strategies for targeted local projects with global reach. Three elements are associated with that: research, education and information. Research will link scientists in understanding global impacts of everyday local activities related to culture, society, economy and nature. The initiative will strengthen the bottom-up movement to the sustainability of everyday politics. Classrooms around the world will use the survey results at all levels of education. IYGU will provide information and promote exchange of knowledge in order to increase public awareness through publications, computer games, TV programs, etc.

Contributions to the United Nations

IYGU addresses key issues of the Constitution of the Charter of the UN and aims to strengthen international cooperation through the preparation of a new strategy of dealing with global challenges.

Contributions to UNESCO

Better global understanding supports economic, social, cultural and humanitarian cooperation. The new level will use targeted scientific cooperation aims to produce advanced educational modules. IYGU will promote practical ways to the global understanding of the cultural and social implications of new geographical conditions of life and the new global reality.

Implementation of the UN initiative

IYGU framework contributes to the initiative of ICSU-ISSC Future Earth and seeks to support the implementation of the Declaration of Rio + 20. For the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of the UN, we must secure global shared responsibility of their living conditions. IYGU will complement the outcomes of the UN’s decade of education for sustainable development (ESD) from 2005 to 2014, focusing on practical ways of introducing their key results in everyday practice. IYGU will provide sustainable education and public information, establishing processes for the installation of the most important results of ESD into habits of future generations.

The implementation of the remaining International UN years

IYGU ће привући и промовисати резултате других релевантних Међународних година, укључујући:

International Year of Mountains (2002)

International Year of Fresh Water (2003)

International Year of Planet Earth (2008)

International Year of Biodiversity (2010)

Proclamation of the International Year of Global Understanding at the World Social Sciences Forum in Durban, September 2015