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At the International Geological Congress (IGC) held in Florence, Italy, in August of 2004 the Council of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) approved the formation of new Commission on Geosciences for Environmental Management (GEM).

Officers of the former IUGS Commission on Geological Sciences for Environmental Planning (COGEOENVIRONMENT), which began in 1996 and completed its 8 year term in 2004, designed GEM to build on the excellent work of the former commission. The new Commission was formed to promote the essential role of the geosciences in decision making surrounding environmental management. 

From 2004 to 2008, under the guidance of Chair, Dr. Joy Pereira, GEM successfully completed many activities through its working groups - see the Special Issue Newsletter, Aug 2008. 

Dr Kevin Telmer took the Chair for the next 4 years (2008-2013) and was succeeded by Professor Ben Mapani for 2014 to 2016.