The Global Time Scale of the International Commission on Stratigraphy includes subdivisions of systems down to stages but substages can be recognized once all stages are ratified. Devonian substage progress slowed down since the inevitable Pragian/Emsian boundary revision has not yet been achieved. Formal substage definitions are urgent since variable versions are used widely, in different regions, and by different authors. This hampers the precise correlation of climatic changes, sea-level fluctuations, geochemical cycles, rates of evolution, and extinction/radiation events. Precise and unequivocal time-scales are the pre-condition for advances in multidisciplinary Earth System research and geological mapping. Our recent studies led to progress in the case of Givetian to Tournaisian substages, which all shall be placed close to 2nd/3rd order global events, which importance is often hidden by their timing within stages.
The future Upper Givetian base shall be placed at the top of the global Taghanic Crises (base of hermanni Zone) while the Lower/Middle Frasnian boundary should coincide with the anoxic Middlesex Event. The best boundary marker, Ancyrodella nodosa, provides correlation with the Alamo Impact of Nevada. Revision of the controversial conodont scale at Martenberg, a potential GSSP, confirmed the semichatovae Transgression (nasuta Subzone) as the best Upper Frasnian base. Other Rhenish sections are suitable for the definitions of the Middle (base marginifera Zone, Beringhauser Tunnel), Upper (Lower Annulata Event, Effenberg), and Uppermost Famennian (e.g. Oese, base ultimus ultimus Zone). The anoxic Lower Alum Shale (base crenulata Zone) should re-define a Middle Tournaisian substage following the classical Belgium chronostratigraphic scale.