Scientists who study the Earth including its surrounding hydrosphere and atmosphere, have formed two international unions: the IUGG-International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) and the International Union of Geological Sciences IUGG-International Union of Geological Sciences. IAVCEI is a member Association of IUGG, even though many on its activities classify as 'geological' and even though there are many discipline links with IUGS. IUGG itself is a member of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) which therefore represents the parent body of IAVCEI.
IUGG is a non-governmental organisation that was established in 1919. It is dedicated to the scientific study of the Earth and to the application of the knowledge gained to the needs of society- for example, environmental preservation, reduction of the effects of natural hazards, and mineral resources. IUGG consists of seven Associations. IAVCEI is one of the seven, and the International Association of Seismology and the Physics of the Earth's Interior (IASPEI) is another. These two associations, as their names imply, are designed to complement one another to a large extent. Seismology is a common interest to both associations, and IAVCEI itself has a strong commitment to understanding the physical (PEI) as well as the chemical (CEI) aspects of magma generation, transport, and emplacement.There are also important cross-linkages with other IUGG Associations (see below).
The International Association of Volcanology (IAV) was founded in 1919 and was the forerunner of IAVCEI. IAV Statutes and By Laws were adopted in Helsinki in 1960 and were revised in Zurich in 1967 and in Canberra in 1979. `Chemistry of the Earth's Interior' (CEI) was appended to `IAV' in 1967 in order to harmonise with the name of IASPEI.
The statutes of IAVCEI include four objectives:
1. To study scientific problems related to volcanoes and volcanic processes, past and present, and to the chemistry of the Earth's interior.
2. To encourage, initiate and coordinate research, and promote international cooperation in these studies.
3. To encourage volcanologists to alert appropriate authorities about the importance of adequate surveillance of active and potentially active volcanoes, and of volcanic risk assessment.
4. To arrange for the discussion and publication of the results of scientific research on volcanology and on the chemistry of the Earth's interior.
Countries are members of IUGG. After 1996, individuals have been able to become members of IAVCEI. Countries that are members of IUGG have IUGG national committees which represent its member associations. Some countries also have national volcanological sub-committees that, in some instances, are an important national focus for volcanological activities. A National Correspondent is appointed by the IUGG national committee (or the volcanological sub-committee) to be the key contact point for IAVCEI in that country (this person is normally the Chair of the sub-committee), and a National Delegate is appointed to represent that country at General Assemblies of IAVCEI.
The Association is committed to serving the interests of individuals and not only nations. It therefore encourages individual participation in the activities of the Association as IAVCEI members and as participants in its Commissions and Task Groups.