Brussels, 05 Mar 2004
Speaking at the third plenary meeting of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), EC Research Director-General and GEO Co-Chair, Achilleas Mitsos, announced that the European Union will host the third Earth Observation (EO) Summit in February 2005 in Brussels.
Making the world a better place to live in means understanding global environmental and economic challenges. The goal of the EO Summits is to improve coordination of EO strategies and research, with a view to moving toward a comprehensive and sustained EO system or systems. They also look to coordinate efforts in developing countries, improving and sustaining their contributions to observing systems, as well as their access to, and effective utilisation of, data and products.
The GEO was set up at the first EO Summit in Washington in July 2003, with the primary goal of developing a 10-year Implementation Plan for a system or systems of comprehensive world EO coverage, now referred to as the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). The second EO Summit will be held in Tokyo in April 2004. With the third EO Summit now set to take place in Brussels, the EU will have its chance to shine as a leader in the EO arena.
The GEO Secretariat, assisted by the GEO Subgroups, and with guidance from the GEO Plenary, has now produced Version 1 of the Framework Document, aimed at pointing the way towards the 10-year Implementation Plan. The Subgroups are also developing detailed content guidelines for the plan in the form of the 'GEO Report to EO Summit II', which it will deliver at the second EO Summit in Tokyo. Together, the Framework Document and the GEO Report to the next Summit will provide the roadmap for the creation of the Plan itself.
After it delivers its Report to the Tokyo Summit, the GEO will then prepare a final Implementation Plan before the Europe Brussels Summit in early 2005. According to EC Research Director-General and GEO Co-Chair Achilleas Mitsos, doing so means sticking to a tight schedule. The next GEO meeting will be held in Brussels in April 2004 at which time the GEO Report to Tokyo Summit is expected to be approved.