Earth Observation Summit
the G8 meeting in June 2003 (Evian, France) it was noted
that there was a need to strengthen international cooperation
on global observations to produce reliable data products
covering the atmosphere, land, fresh water, oceans and ecosystems.
first Earth Observation Summit (EOS) in July 2003 (Washington
DC, United States of America) subsequently endorsed a statement
of commitment to develop a comprehensive, coordinated and
sustained earth observation system or systems. Such a system
would directly support policy and decisionmaking and contribute
to realization of the goals of the World Summit on Sustainable
Development (WSSD), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),
international conventions and other national and international
10-year implementation plan
Group on Earth Observations (GEO) was established to coordinate
and prepare a 10-year implementation plan for what became
known as the Global Earth Observation System of Systems
(GEOSS). Nine Societal Benefit Areas were identified (see
box far right) and great efforts are being made to build
on existing systems and initiatives to develop a comprehensive,
coordinated and sustained programme of observations supporting
each Societal Benefit Area. The Plan also includes sections
dealing with system architecture, capacity building and
Implementation Plan has identified around 240 tasks, which
have been prioritized for short-(1–2 years), medium-
(3–5 years) or longer-term (5–10 years) implementation.
The plan was endorsed at the 3rd EOS (Brussels, Belgium,
the beginning, GTOS has welcomed the GEOSS process as it
has the political endorsement and support to carry out the
important role of coordinating the huge number of national
and international activities in the development of the products
and data required by end users. GTOS and its Panels have
been active in assisting in development of the Societal
Benefit Areas, the 10-year implementation plan, and the
programmes to implement the short-term objectives, including
the implementation of the tasks and activities of the annual
work plans. In addition, GTOS is ensuring that its activities
comply with and are relevant to GEO objectives and requirements,
as well as assisting in the creation of the required networks
and infrastructure (see section on IGOL for an example).
Societal Benefit Areas
Disasters – Reducing
loss of life and property from natural and human-induced
Understanding environmental factors affecting human health
Improving management of energy resources.
Understanding, assessing, predicting, mitigating and adapting
to climate variability and change.
Improving water-resource management through better understanding
of the water cycle.
Improving weather information, forecasting and warning.
Improving the management and protection of terrestrial,
coastal and marine resources.
– Supporting sustainable agriculture and combating
Understanding, monitoring and conserving biodiversity.
Group on Earth Observations home page for more details