Issue 106 - December 2023

International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG)

Report for New Zealand – November 2023

1 NZGS Membership

The International Society for Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG) was founded in 1964. IAEG is a worldwide scientific society with more than 3,600 members and 69 national groups.

New Zealand has 577 members of IAEG, making us one of the largest member countries of the society. 

NZGS is represented on the IAEG Board by Anthony Bowden, IAEG Vice President for Australasia (one of six regions). Each country group gets an independent vote in Council meetings, and I currently carry this vote on behalf of NZGS members.

2 Core activities

The major ongoing activities led by the IAEG are:

  • Edits a quarterly journal, the Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment containing original scientific papers available at
  • Operates commissions led by eminent world specialists, which review the current state of the art on various topics, promoting international cooperation among geologists and engineers who have an interest in engineering geology and related environmental issues.
  • Supports international meetings. An IAEG Congress is held every four years in a country selected from bidding countries at the time of the preceding Congress. The IAEG sponsors various international symposia and regional conferences organized by national committees on specific topics.
  • Publishes a newsletter, by General Secretary, circulated by e-mail twice a year to all members of the IAEG. This is recommended reading for NZGS members and is freely available on the IAEG website at
  • Awards a medal and a prize to outstanding engineering geologists every two years.

3 IAEG Congress

The 14th IAEG Congress was held from 21 to 27 September 2023 at the Century City International Convention Centre in Chengdu. The congress was centred around the theme “Engineering Geology for a Habitable Earth” and aimed to promote research development and cross-disciplinary collaboration in international engineering geology and environmental studies. A range of topics were discussed including global climate change, geological hazard assessment and prevention, geotechnical properties of rock and soil mass, engineering geology for traffic, energy, urban and marine, ecological environment protection in major projects, and new theories and technologies in engineering geology.

It appears to have been very successful, although there was limited representation from New Zealand, likely because of the relatively late lifting of covid restrictions.

The next quadrennial Congress will be held in October 2026 in Delft, Netherlands.

4 IAEG Council Meeting

An Executive and Council meeting was held in Chengdu on the 20th and 21st of September

Some key points that came out of these meetings were:

  • The Association is in a strong and stable financial position.

A number of proposals by the Executive were put to vote at Council and all were carried. These included:

  • Elevation of the Chair of the YEG to full VP position at the Executive
  • Creation of a new ex-officio position on the Executive for the Chair of the new Women in IAEG Group.
  • Creation of a new Prize called the Paul Marinos Distinguished International Lecture.
  • Creation of new prizes for best performing national group and best performing Commission.
  • Imbedding equity, diversity and inclusion in all of our activities.
  • Provide definition of active and inactive national groups and their rights under the bylaws.

The next meeting of the Executive will be held in Athens, Greece in early May, 2024, and the next Council meeting will be held in Dubrovnik, Croatia in October 2024 in conjunction with the IAEG European Regional Conference.

5 Website upgrade

The IAEG recently relaunched its website, which is now easier to use and navigate. Feedback is welcomed on how to further improve the experience for members.

6 Key IAEG upcoming events

14th International Symposium on Landslides & Rock Slope Stability

Chambéry, France. 
5-12 July 2024

ISL (International Symposia on Landslides) is a quadrennial event organized under the patronage of the Joint Technical Committee on Natural Slopes and Landslides (JTC1) of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, the International Society for Rock Mechanics and the International Association for Engineering Geology since 1972.

1st International Rock Mass Classification Conference

Oslo, Norway
30-31 October 2024

The conference topic will be rock mass classification and all aspects of it to provide international practitioners and scholars with an arena to discuss this decade-old topic. The main focus will be on rock mass classification in the light of the challenges of the 21st century: climate change, digitalization, demographic change etc.

15th Australia-New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics

Christchurch, New Zealand
2028 (exact dates to be confirmed)

Beginning in 1952 a series of five Australia-New Zealand Conferences on Soil Mechanics and Foundations were held. The Australia-New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics continues the series, with its scope extended to include the three main fields of geomechanics; soil mechanics, rock mechanics and engineering geology. The First Australia-New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics was held in Melbourne, 1971, and has since been held every four years. By tradition it is hosted in sequence, two times in Australia by the AGS and once in New Zealand by the NZGS. It is expected that the 2028 edition will operate as a formally recognised Regional Conference of IAEG. It is already a recognised ISSMGE Regional Conference.

Ross Roberts

Ross is Head of Engineering Resilience at Auckland Council and a past chair of NZGS. He is currently leading the response to the 2023 landslides in Auckland.

Tags : #IAEG

Issue 106 - December 2023, NZ Geomechanics News
Ross Roberts
Issue 106 - December 2023, NZ Geomechanics News
International Report

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