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Central and Eastern Europe programme

In early 1999 the terrestrial observing system launched its first regional initiative in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The overall goal of the initiative is to identify terrestrial monitoring requirements of countries in the region; to improve access to data and information; and to strengthen the technical capacities for environmental assessment and monitoring. GTOS aims to create an organized regional data infrastructure that makes in situ and satellite data accessible to the CEE community and beyond.

In the first year, GTOS interviewed 27 institutions and national focal points in completion of country assessments on the environment. These preliminary findings were presented at a Synthesis workshop that was organized by GTOS, the FAO sub-regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe and the European Union NoLIMITS project. It was held in conjunction with the United Nations Environmental Programme Global Resource Database (GRID) Centre in Budapest, Hungary (Budapest, Hungary, 9-10 September 1999, see report). Country assessment papers for the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Estonia, Bulgaria, Armenia, Lithuania and Latvia are available from the GTOS secretariat.

In collaboration with the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the Hungarian Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, GTOS surveyed over 250 recipients in the region in order to identify areas of scientific need and strength. By the year 2000, the survey was complete and GTOS had developed a regional implementation plan.

GTOS recognizes information management as a key factor in the success of terrestrial monitoring. Though environmental data is routinely collected in Central and Eastern Europe it is often improperly processed, stored, or indexed, rendering the information inaccessible and unusable. In response, GTOS has organized a number of workshops related to data management and standardization of methods. These include the DData management workshop (30 October - 4 November 2000, Vacratot, Hungary), Dynamic Atlas workshop (Budapest, 4-6 June 2002) and the TCO CEE carbon data warehouse workshop (Prague 16-21 November 2002).

GTOS is now focusing on the establishment of an information management system similar to what is currently being developed in Southern Africa. Both systems will be available through the TEMS database. More details on the 2002 programme.

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© FAO   ::   Global Terrestrial Observing System - GTOS   ::   28 January 2003