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Geology and the UN Sustainable Development Goals


As part of exploring the role of geoscience in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Geological Society has been working with the British Geological Survey and Geology for Global Development to develop a briefing note of the role of geology and geologists in delivering the SDGs. You can find the briefing note on the Geological Society website:

Joint GSL, BGS and GfGD briefing note on Geology and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 

The Sustainable Development Goals, as descibed by the UN, are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The goals were established in 2015 as part of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

Let’s look at some of the ways that geoscience and the Sustainable Development Goals intersect.

SDG1 – No Poverty

The first goal of ‘No Poverty’ relates to the geological sciences in a number of ways in terms of delivering economic sustainability and quality of life. Meeting SDG1 depends on the following areas being managed effectively and efficiently:

  • Addressing climate change
  • Supplying affordable and sustainable energy access
  • Mitigation against geohazards
  • Secure access to minerals and rock materials
  • Sustainable supply of geoscience skills in both education and capacity building

to name a few.

SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities & Communities

SDG 11 will also require input from the geological sciences if it is to be achieved in a sustainable and timely way. Development of sustainable cities will require:

  • Engineering geology to deliver safe and adequate infrastructure
  • Mitigating against dangerous climate change
  • Protecting areas of geoheritage and geotourism for the use of future generations
  • Effective understanding and management of hydrogeology and contaminant geology


SDG 13 – Protect the Planet

Geologists will play a considerable role in delivering actions to combat climate change and its impacts. This will include:

  • Developing technology for carbon capture and storage options
  • Developing geothermal energy
  • Exploring for and extracting the mineral resources needed for electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and fuel cell technology
  • Understanding and remediating contamination of our water resources



The SDGs have the potential to transform society, ensuring dignity for all, and protecting our planet from degradation. Geoscientists have a critical role in turning this vision to reality. This briefing note aims to broaden understanding of this role in and outside of the geoscience community, while challenging geoscientists to embrace new partnerships and ways of working if we are to help secure a sustainable future for all.

For more information about how geoscience is essential to deliverying the SDGs and to download the briefing note, head to our dedicated webpage:


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