The Cape Town Statement on Geoethics

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Giuseppe Di Capua
Silvia Peppoloni
Peter T. Bobrowsky


Recently the interest by geoscientists in (geo)ethical aspects of geoscience knowledge, education, research, practice and communication has grown considerably. Today the topic of geoethics has gained a significant visibility within the scientific community. The IAPG – International Association for Promoting Geoethics (, founded in 2012, has worked to widen the discussion and create awareness about issues of ethics as applied to the geosciences. Thanks to continuous voluntary work, the respectful exchange, and fruitful sharing of ideas, the IAPG community has produced a conceptual substratum on which to base the future development of geoethics, by clarifying the meaning of the word “geoethics”, formalizing its definition, and better identifying a framework of reference values on which the geoscience community can base more effective codes of conduct and guidance. The members of the IAPG community have published various books and articles in peer-reviewed international journals, and organized numerous scientific sessions to bring geoethics to the most important geoscience conferences. Geoethical issues have been also included in the European project ENVRI-Plus, which is dedicated to the environmental and solid Earth research infrastructures. The tangible result of these efforts is that, now, many prestigious geoscience organizations recognize geoethics as a fundamental issue, worthy of attention. This result was confirmed by the high quality of content and the large participation of scientists in the six technical sessions and a panel session on geoethics organized by IAPG at the 35th IGC – International Geological Congress, held in 2016 in Cape Town (South Africa). Largely successful due to the cooperative work of different geoscience organizations (IUGS-TGGP – Task Group on Global Geoscience Professionalism; GSL - Geological Society of London; EFG - European Federation of Geologists; EGS - EuroGeoSurveys; AGI – American Geosciences Institute; AGU – American Geophysical Union, and AAWG – African Association of Women in Geosciences). The IAPG considers the 35th IGC as the scientific event that opened a new phase for furthering the concept of geoethics. In order to mark this milestone, the "Cape Town Statement on Geoethics" (CTSG) was tabled by the IAPG and reviewed in an international effort. It shall focus the attention of geoscientists on the development of shared values, policies, guidelines, strategies and tools, with the long-range goal of fostering the regular adoption of ethical values and practices within the geoscience community. The document summarizes the values, concepts, and contents developed by IAPG so far, providing a perspective for the future development of geoethical thinking. This paper addresses in detail the content of the “Cape Town Statement on Geoethics”, which is now supported officially by several geoscience organizations.

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How to Cite
Di Capua, G., Peppoloni, S. and Bobrowsky, P. T. (2017) “The Cape Town Statement on Geoethics”, Annals of Geophysics, 60. doi: 10.4401/ag-7553.
SPECIAL ISSUE: Geoethics at the heart of all geoscience