This will be the biggest and most important speleological event ever. Your participation as part of the global cave and karst community is crucial. The purpose of the International Year of Caves and Karst (IYCK) is to teach the world about the importance of caves and karst. Public understanding and support of caves and karst is currently very limited. As a result, funding, regulations, and opportunities for exploration, research, and management are also very limited.
The International Union of Speleology (UIS) has declared 2021 as the IYCK in a major effort to make the world aware of how caves and karst are valuable to all people. To make this possible, the UIS is calling on all of its member countries and other organizations to begin planning a series of public lectures, programs, demonstration of techniques, and others activities for 2021.
The IYCK website is now open at http://www.iyck2021.org/. It is designed to teach the public about caves and karst, and so it has a great amount of educational information. It also has information on how to become involved in the IYCK. Please send the activities you plan for the IYCK to http://iyck2021.org/index.php/contact-us/ so we can post them on the “Events” page of the website. Look at the Partners page, and if your organization is not listed, send your logo and website address and you will be included. If you know of organizations that should be involved, contact them. The website will continue to be updated so save the address.
More details about the IYCK are described in the December 2018 UIS Bulletin (http://www.uis-speleo.org/downloads/uis-bulletins/uisb602.pdf) and they will be updated in next issue of the UIS Bulletin, which will be posted around the end of this year. Updates will also be sent through this and other e-mail lists. If you have questions, suggestions, or want to offer assistance, contact us!
The IYCK has incredible potential to advance speleology in many and great ways, but only if we all work together to make it possible.
George Veni, PhD
Executive Director, National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI)
President, International Union of Speleology (UIS)