Brussels, 24 Sep 2004
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) will hold a special session on and 28 September 2004 to agree important elements of a groundbreaking 10-year Plan, paving the way toward a 'Global Earth Observation System of Systems' (GEOSS).
Over the next decade, GEOSS will revolutionise our understanding of the Earth and how it works, allowing policy-makers around the world to access critical information on the environment. It will also provide the framework for a new set of groundbreaking applications with serious commercial potential.
With benefits as broad as the planet itself, this initiative promises to make peoples and economies around the globe healthier, safer and better equipped to manage basic daily needs. The aim is to create a system as interrelated as the planet it observes, serves and protects - delivering hard scientific information on which sound policy- and decision-making can be based.
GEO on course
The GEO was set up at the first EO Summit in Washington in July 2003, with the primary goal of developing a ten-year GEOSS Implementation Plan. The Plan is now set to be adopted at the Third Earth Observation Summit in Brussels in February 2004, one of the highlights of the EU's 'Earth & Space Week', which will run from 12-20 February 2005.
"The interest for the global community is clear," said Achilleas Mitsos, Director-General for Research at the European Commission, and one of the four Co-Chairs of the GEO. "We are talking about nothing less than the future prosperity and security of the citizens of our world, so we must build in the following months a robust, workable and sustainable plan for the next decade. The European initiative on Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) will form an important contribution."
Earth & Space Week
On the occasion of the GEO special session, Mitsos will officially unveil plans for the European Commission- and European Space Agency (ESA)-sponsored 'Earth & Space Week'.
For nine days, from 12-20 February 2005, the EU and ESA will attempt to raise public awareness of the important roles of Earth Observation and Space in our society. A range of cultural and educational activities is to include a world-class interactive 'Earth & Space Week Expo, a film festival, an 'Earth & Space Classroom' and an EU-wide contest for schoolchildren. Ministerial-level events will include the EO Summit and an International Conference on co-operation in Space.