The Commission Internationale de Microflore du Paléozoique (C.I.M.P.) was established in 1958 at the 4th International Congress of Carboniferous Stratigraphy and Geology in Heerlen, The Netherlands, as a parallel body to the International Commission on Coal Petrology and the Commission on Carboniferous Stratigraphy. The initial objectives were to provide a forum for Palaeozoic palynologists to resolve the problems then being encountered with laboratory procedures in sample preparation, morphological terminology, the understanding of specific taxonomic groups, and the general development of palynostratigraphy.
CIMP was structured into a number of subcommissions to deal with acritarchs, chitinozoa, and spores with particular problems being addressed by smaller working groups. From the outset, two of the prime objectives of CIMP were to publish the results of these co-operative detailed Group studies and to present them to the wider scientific community at a regular series of specialist symposia and conferences. This sequence of meetings has continued uninterrupted (on a not greater than two yearly basis) since 1958, with recent reunions being held in Prague, Granada, Pisa, Aix-en-Provence, Sheffield, Zeist (Utrecht), Krakow, etc. In addition, specialist Working Group of all of the Subcommissions are held as and when necessary.
CIMP is a founder member of the International Union of Palynological Societies and still maintains a close association with the International Congress of Carboniferous and Permian Geology. Additionally, the Acritarch and Chitinozoan Subcommissions have developed close affiliations with the IUGS Commissions on Ordovician and Silurian Stratigraphy, thereby placing CIMP in a powerful position to contribute to matters relating to palynostratigraphy throughout the Palaeozoic.
CIMP publishes a twice yearly Newsletter to keep members in touch with all current developments and activities and maintains strong links with all other national and regional palynological organisations. In the past twenty years, members of the CIMP have formed project teams to undertake regional studies of the Palaeozoic palynostratigraphy of Libya and Saudi Arabia in addition to maintaining a wide range of Working Group activities concerned with taxonomic and stratigraphical problems.