Geneva, 6 October 2004. On 21-23 October 2004, following a proposal from the administration of the Canton of Geneva, CERN1 will host the EnviroInfo 2004 Conference as part of the programme of events celebrating the Organization's 50th anniversary.
Although its mandate to carry out fundamental research on particle physics does not give CERN any role or responsibility in studies on environment, environmental protection and sustainable development, the Organization is nonetheless involved with the three main themes of the EnviroInfo 2004 Conference: environment, informatics and sharing.
During its first fifty years, CERN has constantly paid much attention to environmental matters, in particular to keeping the impact of its activities on the surrounding environment to the minimum. In recent years the Organization has developed an environmental management system, set up official communication channels on environmental matters with local authorities, and communicated with the general public via an environment website.
Information technology is a fundamental tool in modern particle physics research. In addition to being the place where the World Wide Web was invented, CERN is at present strongly involved in the development of Grid computing, which will be an essential element of the LHC, CERN's new particle accelerator currently under construction and due to start operation in 2007. CERN's progress in information technology often contributes to improvements in other fields. This is the case, for instance, of the UNOSAT project, an internet-based service that provides UN agencies, NGOs and other institutions, with high quality satellite maps to support humanitarian operations, to study and prevent environmental risks and to plan sustainable reconstruction and rehabilitation of areas affected by natural phenomena. The UNOSAT development group is hosted by CERN.
Sharing is in the mandate and in the culture of CERN. Sharing knowledge is essential for a centre of excellence in particle physics, with a mandate to make its results freely available. The tradition of the Organization to work without borders and cultural barriers, associated to its location on the territory of two countries, brings a strong symbolic value to the decision to hold the EnviroInfo 2004 Conference at CERN.