The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is an intergovernmental partnership focused on improving, providing, and managing Earth observations for the benefit of sustainability.
GEO is engaged in 4 global priority areas, i.e., the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the New Urban Agenda.
GEO promotes open, coordinated and sustained data sharing and infrastructure for better research, policy making, decisions and action across many disciplines.
The Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is an interacting set of coordinated and independent Earth Observations available to a broad range of users. GEOSS implements GEO vision by strengthening the monitoring, facilitating the environmental data sharing, ensuring data accessibility, quality, and provenance. One can access lively and in an easy fashion EO data though the GEOSS Portal.
GEO is a global earth observation network connecting governments, academic and research institutions, data providers, businesses, engineers, scientists, and experts to develop innovations in the areas of sustainable development and sound environmental management.
- The GEO Plenary is the main body of designated representatives of the Members and Participating Organizations of the GEO, with Members holding decision-making authority. It is the GEO’s primary decision-making body. The GEO Plenary meets at least once annually and a Ministerial Summit is held every 4 years.
- The Executive Committee oversees GEO’s activities when the Plenary is not in session. The Committee consists of 16 representatives nominated by the five GEO regional caucuses, including four each from Asia/Oceania and Europe, three each from the Americas and Africa, and two from the Commonwealth of Independent States. Three Participating Organizations from the Programme Board act as observers to the Executive Committee. The Committee is also responsible for guiding the GEO Secretariat.
- The GEO Plenary establishes Working Groups (Capacity Development, Climate, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Data Sharing). to address aspects of GEOSS implementation and provide a mechanism for members of the GEO community to engage full in the work of GEO. Working groups provide high-level review, advice, recommendations and support in the ongoing development and implementation of the GEO 2016-2025 Strategic Plan: implementing GEOSS. Working groups also actively promote the implementation of GEOSS activities described in the annual Work Plan.
- The Programme Board oversees the establishment of the multi-year GEO Work Programme and works to align proposed activities with GEO priorities and committed resources. The Programme Board reports to the GEO Executive Committee and Plenary. GEO Members and Participating Organizations nominate representatives to the Programme Board.
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GEO is a partnership that envisions a future where decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations. The GEO Community is represented by:
- 113 Members: There is an open call to all UN Member States regarding membership. Membership in GEO requires formal endorsement of the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan. All members fit within an existing regional caucus.
- 138 Participating organizations: The participation of intergovernmental, international and regional organizations with a mandate in Earth observation or related activities is subject to the approval by the Executive Committee.
- 17 Associates: GEO Associates are important partners in enabling the application and use of GEO’s global solutions at regional and local scales including commercial and non-governmental, not-for-profit and civil society organizations.
- 10 Observers: GEO may invite other relevant entities to support its work as observers. Observers may be invited to send representatives to GEO Committees and to engage fully in specific GEO activities.
The GEO Work Programme is the primary instrument used by GEO to facilitate collaboration among its Members, Participating Organizations, GEO Associates, and other partners on activities to realize GEO’s Mission and Vision. The GEO Work Programme comprises activities that are conceived, planned and implemented by teams of researchers, technical experts, policy analysts, commercial sector representatives, and many other stakeholders to address information needs in particular domains for which Earth observations are critical. Each new GEO Work Programme covers a fixed three-year period and for the years 2020 to 2022 the activities included are:
- 4 GEO Flagships: Flagships are Initiatives that indicate impact type and support decision-making at global, national, and local level by developing and implementing continuing services in response to defined policy mandates from international organizations, conventions, agreements or other bodies.
- 20 GEO Initiatives: Initiatives, together with Flagships, form the core of the GEO Work Programme, as they contribute to transition innovative results and prototypes from the research community into Earth observation-based products and services to support a wide range of users. Initiatives also build communities of stakeholders that work together to identify needs and gaps and develop capacity with these communities to maximize the value of the products and services being developed.
- 36 GEO Community Activities: Community Activities range from communities of practice to early-stage projects or pilots, to well-established services. They promote the collaboration of GEO Members and Participating Organizations to realizing GEO’s Vision and Mission with minimal requirements or structure. GEO Community Activities serve can evolve to become GEO Initiatives.
- 4 Regional GEOs: This is a new category of activity in the Work Programme. Regional GEOs act as the implementing arms of the GEO Caucuses, which are groups of GEO Member countries within five defined regions of the world. The roles of Regional GEOs include: engagement of countries and organizations within their region, including those which may not yet be GEO Members or actively involved; coordination of GEO activities within their region, including subsets of global Initiatives and Flagships; and initiation of new activities to serve regional needs.
- 5 GEO Foundational Tasks: Foundational Tasks are the means by which GEO implements certain critical activities needed to ensure coordination across the GEO Work Programme, provide selected technical services to the GEO community, and to support GEO governance bodies and routine operations.