Earth Observation

GEO Week 2023

6–10 November 2023 | Cape Town, South Africa


GEO Members adopted the GEO Post-2025 Strategy, which not only supports GEO’s continued leadership in enabling the provision and use of Earth observations but also introduces pathways for GEO to co-produce products and services with users and for users, thereby requiring GEO to adapt its operating model.

Final report

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The Group on Earth Observations (GEO), an intergovernmental partnership of more than 100 countries plus the European Commission, promotes the extensive use of earth observations data, information, and knowledge for research, policy, decisions, and action.

Earth Observation (EO) is the collection of information about the Earth’s atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial systems, including changes to these systems over time. EO data provides essential information to support decision making in GEO’s three global priority engagement areas: climate action, disaster risk reduction (DRR), and sustainable development. GEO facilitates the sharing of environmental data and information collected from the large array of observing systems contributed by countries and organizations within the partnership.

Under the theme “The Earth Talks,” GEO Week 2023 engaged with its expansive community, including many from the African regional GEO (AfriGEO). The key objectives of GEO Week 2023 were to:

  • showcase and discover solutions –GEO has advanced the sharing of open knowledge, enhanced coordination, and the development of tools and services that respond to specific global policy challenges;
  • unlock action – EO can provide the information needed to unlock action on the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, and drive sustainable development;
  • demonstrate leadership – GEO Week and the Ministerial Summit will provide an opportunity to highlight contributions, commitments, and EO solutions on a global stage; and
  • network -–the gathering of Ministers, as well as representatives from the private sector, civil society and international organizations, represents a unique opportunity for high-level networking and discussions.

The initial two days of GEO Week 2023 were comprised of flash talks, technical workshops and discussions where participants were scheduled to engage in, among others: the Attainable Yield Gap in Africa Initiative; a Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system in near real time to support greener agricultural policies and funding; development of a first set of global seasonal updated crop maps; and a malaria infection prediction early warning system in South Africa.

The 19th Plenary Session of GEO (GEO-19) officially opened on 8 November with the Ministerial Summit taking place on 10 November, and considered, among others:

  • the GEO Post-2025 Strategy;
  • a draft Ministerial Declaration presented to the GEO Plenary before sharing with Ministers for adoption at the Ministerial Summit;
  • the Global Ecosystems Atlas, which provides an overview of its purpose, real-world applications, and user perspectives;
  • the GEO Global Heat Resilience Service; and
  • a showcase of GEO achievements, drawing from the Team Impact category of the 2023 GEO Awards, as well as selected stories from the 2023 Highlights Report.

GEO-19 also considered: national efforts and initiatives and the underlying dynamics and imperatives for strengthening country‐level coordination to bridge the gap between national and global level engagements; the outcomes of GEO Plenary Business in a closed session as required by the GEO Rules of Procedure; and the way ahead with regards to GEO-19’s outcomes and decisions.

GEO-19 convened in Cape Town, South Africa, from 6-10 November 2023, amid rapid technological change, mounting environmental challenges affecting both the continent and the world at large, and major geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) writers for this meeting were Suzi Malan, Ph.D., María Gutiérrez, Ph.D.; and Kyle Wiebe. The Editor was Leila Mead.

Funding for ENB coverage of GEO Week 2023 was provided by the GEO Secretariat.


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