EuroGOOS at GEO-XIII Plenary – Promoting ocean observing for societal benefits

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EuroGOOS annimation GEOSS for Europe here

From 8 to 10 November, EuroGOOS attended the plenary meeting of the global Group on Earth Observations, GEO. Since its establishment in 2005, GEO has brought together 102 nations, the European Commission representing the EU member states, and 108 Participating Organizations. GEO aims to deliver open information on Earth observations for the benefit of humankind. At the plenary a new Global Earth Observation System of Systems, GEOSS, portal was presented. 

EuroGOOS attended the GEO-XIII plenary as a GOOS representative (together with GOOS Director Albert Fischer) and as an invited participant of the European Commission’s exhibition ‘Europe for GEOSS’ showcasing the EU efforts in Earth observations.

Robert Jan Smits, Director-General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission, and GEO co-chair, attended the EuroGOOS stand and received a copy of the EOOS Consultation document, developed by the EOOS Steering Group. The EOOS framework is being promoted by EuroGOOS and the European Marine Board to build an integrated and sustained ocean observing capacity in Europe, a European Ocean Observing System (EOOS). Presenting the EOOS framework, Dina Eparkhina, EuroGOOS Policy and Communications Officer, explained the importance of sustained ocean measurements, both in-situ and remote sensing, and ongoing European efforts to develop the observing system requirements along the UNESCO’s IOC Framework for Ocean Observing. The Framework states that ‘we cannot measure everything nor do we need to’ and sets out the concept of Essential Ocean Variables to guide the development of the observing system requirements, elements and products. EOOS will not only provide a unique forum for the scientific community to discuss synergies among the ongoing efforts, but will also form a focal point for the European policymakers. Ocean observing underpins EU policies and initiatives led by several Directorates General, namely for Research and Innovation, Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, as well as Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. The EOOS concept and the consultation document were presented at a recent European Parliament event, 8 September 2016, Brussels.

In addition to the GEO-XIII plenary and exhibition, several side-events took place during the GEO week. Over 400 participants attended the week, taking place in St Petersburg struck by an unusually cold weather with day temperatures falling to minus 10 and the city covered in thick snow. GEO launched five new initiatives, including among others, Earth Observations for Ecosystem Accounting and GEO for Sustainable Development Goals. A dedicated session was organized to collect industry views on the GEOSS requirements. It was noted that GEO should engage in collecting user feedback and possibly co-design information services with users. Open data promotion was stressed as critical for achieving the GEO objectives. However, opening the data was not enough for an efficient GEOSS, the data must be fit for purpose and of known quality. Finally, a new GEO programme was discussed in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. EuroGOOS Chair, Erik Buch, represented the ocean component on the GEO Programme Board in 2016.

Further information on the GEO-XIII plenary, including the meeting documents, is available on the GEO website

On Twitter, EuroGOOS and other posts can be viewed with the official hashtag: #GEOweek2016

The GEO-XIV plenary is planned in Washington DC on 23-27 October 2017; GEO-XV will take place in Japan.

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