It finally happened. The International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) launched what promises to become the largest, most complex, and most ambitious program of international scientific cooperation ever to be organized.
Of several fathers (some officially recognized as such, others not) and after several years of gestation, IGBP saw the light on September 19, 1986, when the General Assembly of ICSU meeting in Berne, Switzerland, passed a resolution accepting the recommendations formulated by an ad hoc Planning Group in a document entitled The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme: A Study of Global Change [ICSU, 1986]. This is also the official designation of the project. Its main objective will be “to describe and understand the interactive physical, chemical, and biological processes that regulate the total earth system, the unique environment that it provides for life, the changes that are occurring in this system, and the manner in which they are influenced by human actions.”