Global Earth Observation moves ahead

September 28, 2004

The intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) met this week to agree important elements of a groundbreaking 10-year Plan that will pave the way toward building a global Earth Observation System. Over the next decade, this system will revolutionize our understanding of the Earth and how it works. 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 an observing system as interrelated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects providing the science on which sound policy and decision-making can be built. The 10-Year Plan is set to be adopted at the 3rd Earth Observation Summit in Brussels next February - the highlight in a nine-day public “Earth & Space Week” devoted to raising awareness of the important role that Earth observation & space play in our society.

“The self-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.”

The devil’s in the detail

In the run up to the Third Earth Observation Summit, the GEO convened for a special session on 27-28 September in Brussels to discuss and finalise key aspects related to the issue of governance and the 10-Year Plan. As with most international agreements, a successful consensus on the issue of how the Plan will be governed is critical to it being carried out successfully by all parties. The GEO plans to meet again in late November in Ottawa, Canada to finalise the Plan actions.

Earth & Space Week Announced

On the occasion of the GEO special session, Mitsos, in his role as one of the four GEO Co-chairs, officially announced that the European Commission with the collaboration of the European Space Agency (ESA) will host the first “Earth & Space Week” from 12-20 February 2005 in Brussels. Earth & Space Week will feature a broad spectrum of activities - from ministerial-level events like the Summit and an International Conference on Cooperation in Space to a major public Earth & Space Exposition. The week is designed to stimulate an awareness, understanding and appreciation of how Earth observation and Space initiatives help to improve the quality of life on our planet.

Source: European Commission, Research Directorate

Explore further: Magnetic oceans and electric Earth

Related Stories

Magnetic oceans and electric Earth

October 4, 2016

Oceans might not be thought of as magnetic, but they make a tiny contribution to our planet's protective magnetic shield. Remarkably, ESA's Swarm satellites have not only measured this extremely faint field, but have also ...

Ceres: The tiny world where volcanoes erupt ice

September 1, 2016

Ahuna Mons is a volcano that rises 13,000 feet high and spreads 11 miles wide at its base. This would be impressive for a volcano on Earth. But Ahuna Mons stands on Ceres, a dwarf planet less than 600 miles wide that orbits ...

The Genesis project—new life on exoplanets

September 2, 2016

Can life be transplanted to planets outside our solar system that are not permanently inhabitable? This is the question with which Professor Dr. Claudius Gros from the Institute of Theoretical Physics at Goethe University ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.