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The Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS)


What is GEO?

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a voluntary partnership of governments and participatory organisations. GEO was launched in response to calls for action by the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and by the G8 (Group of Eight) leading industrialised countries. These high-level meetings recognised that international collaboration is essential for exploiting the growing potential of Earth observations to support decision making in an increasingly complex and environmentally stressed world. GEO provides a framework within which these partners can develop new projects and coordinate their strategies and investments.

As of March 2011, GEO’s Members include 86 Governments and the European Commission. In addition, 61 intergovernmental, international, and regional organisations with a mandate in Earth observation or related issues have been recognised as Participating Organisations.

DIVERSITAS is a Participating Organisation of GEO, since December 2005.

For more information, please visit the GEO website.


What is GEOSS?

GEO has been formed in order to build the Global Earth Observation System of Systems, GEOSS, designed around nine Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs): disasters, health, energy, water, weather, ecosystems, agriculture and biodiversity.

GEO is implementing a 10-Year Implementation Plan for GEOSS for the period 2005 to 2015. The Plan defines a vision statement for GEOSS, its purpose and scope, expected benefits, and the nine “Societal Benefit Areas” of disasters, health, energy, climate, water, weather, ecosystems, agriculture and biodiversity.


What is the vision for GEOSS?

The vision for GEOSS is to realise a future wherein decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations and information.


What is the purpose of GEOSS?

The purpose of GEOSS is to achieve comprehensive, coordinated and sustained observations of the Earth system, in order to improve monitoring of the state of the Earth, increase understanding of Earth processes, and enhance prediction of the behavior of the Earth system. GEOSS will meet the need for timely, quality long-term global information as a basis for sound decision making, and will enhance delivery of benefits to society in the following initial areas:

• Reducing loss of life and property from natural and human-induced disasters;

• Understanding environmental factors affecting human health and well-being;

• 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 ecosystems;

• Supporting sustainable agriculture and combating desertification;

• Understanding, monitoring, and conserving biodiversity.

GEOSS is a step toward addressing the challenges articulated by United Nations Millennium Declaration and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. GEOSS will also further the implementation of international environmental treaty obligations. For example, the Convention on Biological Diversity has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GEO.


For more information, please visit the GEOSS website.

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