The International Geotechnical Societies’ UNESCO Working Party on World Landslide Inventory (WP/WLI) was initiated at the 5th International Symposium on Landslides (Lausanne 1988) to assist the establishment of a detailed list of the World’s landslides. The Working Party was composed of the members of the Technical Committee on Landslides (TC 11) of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, the Commission on Landslides of the International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG Commission 2), and nominees of National Groups of the International Society of Rock Mechanics (ISRM). The Working Party later became a Working Group of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) after the ISSMFE and the ISRM joined the IUGS, and with the addition of nominees from the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG). The scientific goal of the Working Group was to assist in the prediction of the occurrence and behaviour of landslides during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction(1990-2000).
A common nomenclature was regarded as necessary to assist mutual understanding. The efforts to this end lead to consensus regarding suggested nomenclature and methods, published in a series of articles. These include A Suggested Method for Reporting a Landslide (WP/WLI 1990a), Suggested Nomenclature for landslides (WP/WLI 1990b), a simple definition of landslide (Cruden 1991),A Suggested Method for a Landslide Summary (WP/WLI 1991),A Suggested Method for describing the Activity of a Landslide (WP/WLI 1993a),A Suggested Method for reporting Landslide Causes (WP/WLI 1994), A Suggested Method for describing the Rate of Movement of a Landslide (IUGS/WG/L 1995), and A Suggested Method for reporting Landslide Remedial Measures (IUGS/WG/L 2001). Some of these were collected in the Multilingual Landslide Glossary (WP/WLI 1993b). They formed the basis of the Working Classification of Landslides (Cruden, Lan, 2014)
The Working Group also turned its attention to risk assessment associated with landslide phenomena, holding a workshop in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1997. The proceedings of the workshop (Cruden, Fell,1997) included papers on landslide risk assessment practice, approaches to risk assessment and management, and others that covered the state of the art for landslide risk management. At the end of the IDNDR, the Working Group asked its active committees to reintegrate with their parent organizations (Cruden, 2001). The incomplete Multilingual Glossary became a responsibility of IAEG Commission 2. Unfortunately this Commission was subsequently stood down. Discussions at the IAEG 2014 Congress led to its revival to address the limited field of Landslide Nomenclature.
The annual IAEG council meeting was held in New Delhi, India, during the International Conference on Engineering Geology In the New Millennium, October 25th and 26th, 2015. The president of IAEG, Professor Scott Burns, chaired the meetings. Dr. Hengxing Lan reported on the establishment of a new IAEG commission on Landslide Nomenclature. Through the discussion and vote at the council meeting, the new Commission on LANDSLIDE NOMENCLATURE was established and assigned the number C37 (IAEG NEWSLETTER,2015).