International Research Center on Karst(IRCK)/NICK

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Introduction of IRCK

Date:2016-05-04 Author:IRCK Secretary


    According to the Agreement between the Government of the Peoples Republic of China and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Concerning the Establishment and Operation of the International Research Center on Karst in Guiln, China, under the Auspices of UNESCO, which was signed on February 11, 2008 in UNESCO headquaters, Paris, the International Research Center on Karst (IRCK) was set up on December 15, 2008. As the first category II center concerning geosciences under the auspices of UNESCO, the establishment of IRCK is of great significance to international geosciences. As one of the international institutes of the Chinese Academy of geological Sciences, IRCK is hosted within the premises of the Institute of Karst Geology (IKG), which provides materials and otherwise for the establishment and operation of IRCK.

    IRCK is the only international center on interdisciplinary research on karst in the UNESCO system and will contribute to reach a better understanding of karst system on a global scale, to keep karst fragile environment ecologically sound, and to promote sustainable development of society and economy in karst regions, which are generally regarded as one of the worlds most fragile environmental systems. The center therefore will, advance karst dynamic through scientific research, publications, international cooperation; promote international communication and contacts and provide a platform to the exchange of scientific information about karst dynamics and sustainable utilization of karst resources and eco-environmental protection; and further provide advisory activities, technical information, education and training as a basis to develop and implement new integrated methods of rocky desertification rehabilitation and ecological restoration for karst regions.

Opening Ceremony of IRCK

    In November, 2013, IRCK has successfully passed the first six-year assessment by the Experts Panel of UNESO. The Experts Panel presented that IRCK has become a high effective Category II center under the Auspices of UNESCO; as a bridge, IRCK has promoted the exchange and application of karst knowledge, expanded the influence of karst knowledge across the world; and effectively completed the mission in the agreement with outstanding achievements. All these indicated that IRCK has made a good start towards its goal.

Objectives of IRCK

(1) advance karst dynamic system through scientific research, publications, international cooperation;

(2) advance international cooperation and contacts and provide a platform for the exchange of scientific information about karst dynamic system and sustainable utilization of karst resources and eco-environmental protection, between institutions worldwide within the framework of the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) of UNESCO, the karst commissions of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), the International Association of Hydrogeologists(IAH), and the International Geographical Union (IGU);

(3) provide advisory activities, technical information and training, and promote social awareness-raising on karst dynamic system application for integrated control of rocky desertification rehabilitation, ecological restoration and biodiversity, karst dynamic system and global climate change, including society at large, NGOs and governmental institutions at central and regional levels;

(4) develop a network of demonstration sites for the implementation of karst dynamic system theory to improve epikarst and subterranean water resources utilization, control rocky desertification rehabilitation, protect biodiversity to improve its capacity of adapting to climate change, study the karst process and carbon cycle, and examine the paleo-climate change recording with stalagmites, so as to provide services for karst areas’ sustainable development;

(5) promote monitoring, modeling and mapping systems on karst dynamic system, gradually put into place a monitoring network and conduct comparative study among different countries and regions.

Functions of IRCK

(1) conduct technical, scientific and theoretical research on modern karstology; coordinate and organize international/interregional cooperative projects and provide guidance on experimental equipments and provide field experimental sites when necessary;

(2) revise and update the website of the Center, and enhance the building of exchange platform to facilitate the exchange of scientific and policy information at international level; undertake science popularization and dissemination, actively organize and participate in international workshops, symposiums and conferences related to karstology;

(3) cooperate with the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP), the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, government agencies, NGOs and decision-makers, in order to put the results of scientific research into practice;

(4) organize international training courses on karstology for (post)graduate students, researchers, technicians and relevant managers, provide the up-to-date progress, technologies and policies related to karst dynamic system, arrange field practice, and promote in-depth exchange among them;

(5) gradually develop guidelines and criteria on the investigation and research on karst dynamic system, conduct comparative study, advance ecological education, rocky desertification rehabilitation, and biodiversity protection, address global climate change and sustainable development, to raise public awareness.





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