GEO Week 2021 concluded, with the Seventeenth Plenary Session of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO-17) endorsing the 2020 Financial Statement and Audit Report and approving the 2022 GEO Trust Fund Budget. It also launched the GEO Pledge Campaign 2022, to ensure sufficient resources for GEO to undertake its activities.
The Youth Track held its final session on Friday. Steven Ramage, Chief Engagement Officer, GEO Secretariat, reflected on the Youth Track discussions over the week. He noted that it has helped bring together youth from around the world with senior researchers, scientists and policymakers, to hold a dialogue on the role of young people in GEO. Participants then gathered in breakout rooms to discuss: leveraging existing youth networks and links with GEO Work Programme activities; promoting opportunities for internships and early career jobs under the GEO umbrella; and advancing youth inclusion in GEO events and highlighting their participation.
The main outcome of the Youth Track was the launch of the Youth Community of Practice within GEO.
During the GEO-17 plenary, Brian Cover, Chief, Finance Division, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), presented the GEO 2020 Financial Statement and Audit Report. He reported an increase in voluntary contribution pledges to GEO in 2020 compared to 2019, and that at the end of 2020, GEO had a fund balance of CHF6.3 million. He also highlighted that GEO’s external auditors gave the reports an unqualified or clean audit opinion.
Lawrence Friedl, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US, and member of the GEO Budget Working Group, presented the 2022 GEO Trust Fund Budget, noting it has also been adopted by the GEO Executive Committee. He outlined that the expected cash expenditure for 2022 is CHF 5.4 million, while expected income is CHF 4.3 million, leaving an expected shortfall of CHF 1.1 million. He announced the launch of the GEO Pledge Campaign 2022 to cover this shortfall. Noting the pledge campaign ties into the GEO value proposition, Friedl urged GEO members to contribute to the campaign and promote it among their networks.
GEO Week 2021 also included the GEO Awards, which included two awards categories and the first ever GEO Art Competition:
- GEO Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG) Awards
- GEO Individual Excellence Awards; and
- GEO Art Competition, held on the theme, “Mother Earth: I see you, I hear you, I feel you.”
Nathalie Pettorelli (UK), GEO Programme Board member, presented the GEO Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Statement. She highlighted the five pillars underpinning GEO’s EDI vision, namely: oversight and accountability; community leadership and advocacy; creating a welcoming and supportive environment; outreach and engagement; and empowerment through accessibility. The GEO Plenary endorsed the GEO EDI Statement.
Yana Gevorgyan, Director, GEO Secretariat, announced the dates for GEO Week 2022, scheduled to take place from 31 October to 4 November 2022. GEO Co-Chair Steve Volz (US) closed GEO Week 2021 at 2.03pm CET.
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