South African Department of Science and Innovation will host the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Week and Ministerial Summit in Cape Town from 6 to 10 November. This is the first time the summit will be held in Africa. South Africa is currently the co-chair of GEO.
GEO is an intergovernmental partnership working to improve the availability, access and use of open Earth observations, including satellite imagery, remote sensing and in situ data, to impact policy and decision making in a wide range of sectors.
GEO is a global network with over 100 national governments and institutions. Its aim is to improve the availability and use of Earth observations for sustainable development and sound environmental management. It works to actively enhance and coordinate global Earth observation systems and promote broad, open data sharing for the benefit of society.
The GEO Summit, held under the theme “The Earth Talks”, will focus on the sharing and use of Earth observation data to tackle the growing impact of climate change and loss of biodiversity worldwide.
South Africa has been an active member of GEO since its inception in 2005, and was instrumental in the establishment of AfriGEO, which was set up to provide a coordination framework and platform for Africa’s participation in GEO, as well as to strengthen connections with global partners and expand regional engagements.
For the first time, young people will present a declaration at the GEO Summit, setting out their perspective on the climate change challenge.
The GEO Week and Ministerial Summit will include exhibitions, flash talks, plenary sessions and technical meetings. The flash talks will cover topics like global seasonal crop maps, early warning systems for malaria, sustainability in space, capacity development opportunities agriculture and food security interventions, and driving collaboration on the GEO Global Heat Resilience Service.