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Sustainable Development Policy & Practice
Tenth Plenary Session of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO-X) and Geneva Ministerial Summit

14-17 January 2014 | Geneva, Switzerland
 
Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
 
Summary Highlights of the Meeting

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Friday, 17 January 2014

Opening the Ministerial Summit on Friday morning, 17 January 2014, Bruno Oberle, State Secretary, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), welcomed delegates to Geneva and explained the gathering will decide on the continuation of GEO for the next decade. Short films were shown explaining GEO and GEOSS rationale and achievements.

During the introductory session chaired by Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment, each of the four GEO Ministerial Co-Chairs offered brief addresses: Potočnik, European Commission; Jianlin Cao, Vice Minister of Science and Technology, China; Derek Hanekom, Minister of Science and Technology, South Africa; and Patrick Gallagher, Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce, US. Participants also heard keynote addresses from Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP, delivered by Jacqueline McGlade, Senior Advisor, UNEP, and State Secretary Oberle. Ministers then visited the exhibition

After the exhibition visit, the morning continued with a session on the Geneva Declaration, chaired by Co-Chair Cao, which began with a reading of the draft Declaration by State Secretary Oberle. Twenty-nine Members and 15 Participating Organizations (POs) then offered statements supporting the Declaration. The Declaration was adopted without amendment.

In the afternoon, a session on guidance for the future of GEO was chaired by Co-Chair Hanekom. After a presentation by the Secretariat of the Ministerial Guidance on the Evolution of GEOSS, six Members and three POs offered statements regarding the future of GEO. Hanekom provided a brief summary of the interventions.

The final session, chaired by Co-Chair Gallagher, featured closing remarks by each of the Co-Chairs and by State Secretary Oberle. The Summit was gaveled to a close at 4:51 pm.

Summary of the meeting in English (in HTML and in PDF format)

Visit the full GEO-X coverage for Friday, 17 January 2014

Bruno Oberle, State Secretary, FOEN, Switzerland, GEO Co-Chairs and Ministerial Summit Co-Chairs congratulate each other after the successful conclusion of the Summit
 
OPENING SESSION
 
L-R: Barbara Ryan, Director, GEO Secretariat; GEO Co-Chair Rudolf Strohmeier, European Commission; Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment; GEO Co-Chair Kathryn Sullivan, US; Patrick Gallagher, Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce, US;
Bruno Oberle
, State Secretary, FOEN, Switzerland; Derek Hanekom, Minister of Science and Technology, South Africa; GEO Co-Chair
Philemon Mjwara
, South Africa; Jianlin Cao, Vice Minister of Science and Technolgy, China; Linhao Chen, China; Achim Steiner, Executive
Director, UNEP

 
Bruno Oberle, State Secretary, Switzerland, welcomed GEO-X participants and officially opened the Geneva
Ministerial Summit
 
 
Jacqueline McGlade, Senior Advisor, UNEP, speaking on behalf of
Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP
 
Bruno Oberle, State Secretary, FOEN, Switzerland
 
 
MINISTERIAL TOUR OF THE GEO-X EXHIBITION
 
Derek Hanekom, Minister of Science and Technology, South Africa (center), posing with GEO-X participants from
Africa
 
 
Bruno Oberle, State Secretary, FOEN, Switzerland, visiting the
GEO-X Swiss exhibition
 
Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment,
visiting the EuroGeoSurveys booth
 
 
   
Jianlin Cao, Vice Minister of Science and Technolgy, China (seventh from the right), with GEO-X participants from
China
   
 
L-R: Patrick Gallagher, Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce, US, and GEO Co-Chair Kathryn Sullivan, US
 
Republic of Korea GEO booth
 
STATEMENTS REGARDING THE DECLARATION
 
H.E. Prime Minister Jean Omer Beriziky, Madagascar
 
Laila Rashed Iskandar, Minister of State for
Environmental Affairs, Egypt
Cecilia Rebong, Ambassador and
Permanent Representative of the
Philippines to the UN and Other
International Organizations in Geneva
Nino Sharashidze, First Deputy Minister
of Environment and Natural Resources
Protection, Georgia
 
Amb. Thomas Fitschen, Deputy
Permanent Representative of Germany to
the UN and Other International
Organizations in Geneva
 
Yoshitaka Sakurada, Senior Vice Minister of
Education, Culture, Sports, Science and
Technology, Japan
 
Pablo Vieira, Deputy Minister of Environment
and Sustainable Development, Colombia
 
   
Group photo of GEO-X participants
   
 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

The final day of GEO-X met on Thursday, 16 January 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. GEO-X approved the proposal for preparation of the next GEOSS Implementation Plan, discussed the draft Geneva Declaration, and considered the 2013 ExCom report, GEO financial reports and the 2014 operations budget, Implementation Board and ExCom membership, and an update of the rules of procedure. The Plenary heard a series of formal statements from Members and Participating Organizations on key events and activities. The Plenary also accepted an offer by Gabon to host GEO-XI in November 2014. The Plenary was gaveled to a close at 3:18 pm.

In the afternoon, Karine Siegwart, Vice Director, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland, moderated a high-level panel on "Perspectives on the Value of Earth Observations." Panelists provided their insights on the role of Earth observations in addressing global environmental challenges and achieving sustainable development into the future, as an input to the Ministerial Summit discussions on the future of GEO. Presentations were provided by: Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP; Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction; Philippe Gillet, Acting President, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; and Serge Tröber, Chief Underwriting Officer of Corporate Solutions, Swiss Re.

Throughout the day, the EU sponsored a "Speakers' Corner" with presentations on a number of issues linked to GEOSS, while separate special events were held on the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, UNEP-Live, GEONETCast support to the Charter on Disasters, the EU's Copernicus programme, and the role of the Blue Planet Initiative in the Integrated Atlantic Observing System.

In the evening, Ministers and Heads of Delegation attended a dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel hosted by the Government of Switzerland.

Summary of the meeting in English (in HTML and in PDF format)

Visit the full GEO-X coverage for Thursday, 16 January 2014

 
   
José Romero, Switzerland (center), in discussion with delegates from the US
   
 
Philippe Brunet, European Commission
Sue Barrell, Australia
Huadong Guo, China
 
L-R: Isabel Gamarra de Fox and Alberto Yanosky, Paraguay
 
Mmboneni Muofhe, South Africa
Keisuke Isogai, Japan
 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

On Wednesday morning, 15 January 2014, the Tenth Plenary Session of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO-X) opened in Geneva, Switzerland, with welcoming remarks from the Head of the Swiss delegation, Karine Siegwart, GEO Secretariat Director Barbara Ryan and the four GEO Co-Chairs, Kathryn Sullivan (US), Jianlin Cao (China), Rudolf Strohmeier (European Commission), and Philemon Mjwara (South Africa). The opening session also recognized Georgia as a new Member, approved 10 new Participating Organizations and two observers, and approved the report of GEO-IX.

GEO-X then examined the documents provided to the Ministerial Summit, particularly the draft vision to 2025, a proposal for the process to develop a new implementation plan, and the draft Geneva Declaration. The Plenary approved the vision document with an amendment suggested by Australia. A decision on the proposal for the implementation plan process was postponed until Thursday to allow Members more time to review the proposal.

In the afternoon, the Plenary considered the reports on Assessment of Progress, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Progress on Implementation of Recommendations from GEOSS Evaluation. The Secretariat presented the proposed update of the 2012-2015 Work Plan, which was approved subject to review and update in 2015. The day’s Plenary finished with highlights from GEOSS implementation, including specific presentations on the Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments (GEO-GNOME), the AfriGEOSS initiative, and the GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI).

Throughout the day, the EU sponsored a "Speakers' Corner" with presentations on a number of issues linked to GEOSS, while separate special events were held on citizen observatories, China Earth observation technology, a scientific roadmap toward Integrated Earth System Science in 2015-2025, and the International Astronautical Federation's (IAF) role in GEOSS.

In the evening, a reception was held for GEO-X participants hosted by the Swiss Government.

Summary of the meeting in English (in HTML and in PDF format)

Visit the full GEO-X coverage for Wednesday, 15 January 2014

 
GEO-X participants viewing NASA data on the “Hyperwall” at the US GEO booth
 
GEO Co-Chair Kathryn Sullivan, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator, US, opened the GEO-X plenary
 
 
Barbara Ryan, Director, GEO Secretariat
 
Karine Siegwart, Switzerland
 
 
GEO Co-Chair Kathryn Sullivan, US
GEO Co-Chair Jianlin Cao, China
 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

On Tuesday, 14 January, the Executive Committee of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) met throughout the day in preparation for the tenth GEO Plenary (GEO-X) and the Geneva Ministerial Summit. Also meeting in parallel were the Africa Land Cover Working Group, the GEO Institutions and Development Implementation Board, the GEOSS Interoperability for Weather, Ocean and Water (GEOWOW) General Assembly, and a Joint Meeting of the Disasters Task Team and Geohazards Community of Practice (GHCP).

Throughout the day, the EU sponsored a “Speakers' Corner” with presentations on a number of issues linked to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), while separate special events were held on biodiversity and ecosystems, open access to research data, the GEOSS Water Strategy, bringing GEOSS services into practice, world food systems, application of space technologies in the water sector, the Global Initiative for Cholera Early Warning, air quality and health, the role of mountain ecosystems in the GEO Work Programme, and international collaboration on global land cover data product data validation and services.

Summary of the meeting in English (in HTML and in PDF format)

Visit the full GEO-X coverage for Tuesday, 14 January 2014

 
   
Roberta Lupis, European Commission, giving information to GEO-X particiants about Copernicus, the
European system for monitoring the Earth
   
 
GEO-X SIDE EVENTS
 
SPECIAL EVENT ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEMS
 
   
Session of the special event on Biodiversity and Ecosystems
   
 
Marcus Erhard, European Environment Agency (EEA), presented spatial data for ecosystem assessments and natural capital accounting
Duncan Pollard, Nestlé S.A., presented on deforestation guides for commodity sourcing
Alberto Basset, University of Salento, Italy,
gave a presentation on LifeWatch research
infrastructure and the bridge between
ecosystems and biodiversity
 
EU SPEAKERS' CORNER TALKS
 
Hannu Saarenmaa, University of Eastern Finland, presented on organizing data flows and modeling for
essential biodiversity variables
 
ENB GEO-X TEAM
 
   
L-R: Harry Jonas, Annelies Van Gaalen, Mari Luomi, Franz Dejon and Keith Ripley
   
 
 
Funding for coverage of this event has been provided by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)
FOEN

Related Links
Event resources

*GEO-X meeting website

*Week at a Glance

*Reports and documents from past GEO plenaries

*Reports and declarations of past GEO Ministerials

*GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan


Other Relevant Resources

*GEO Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON)

*GEO Coastal Zone Community of Practice (CZCP)

*Integrated Global Water Cycle Observations (IGWCO) Community of Practice

*GEOCARBON

*Eye on Earth

*Global Climate Observing System


IISD RS resources

*IISD RS briefing note of the Expert Workshop on Enhancing Biodiversity Data and Observing Systems in Support of the Implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 (HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS coverage of Rio+20: Third PrepCom and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), 13-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

*IISD RS summary report of Eye on Earth Summit (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF) (Arabic: PDF)

*Forests-L - A news and announcement list on forest policy issues

*Forests Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Adressing Forests Policy

*LAND-L - A news and announcement list on land policy issues

*Land Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Addressing Sustainable Land

*Water-L - A news and announcement list on water policy issues

*Water Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of Activities Addressing Sustainable Water and Sanitation

*Post-2015 Development Agenda Meeting Reporting

*SDG - A mailing list focused on internationally-relevant activities related to setting the post-2015 development agenda

*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Post-2015 Development Agenda Activities

*SDG - A mailing list for news on sustainable development policy

*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development

*Biodiversity-L - A mailing list for news on biodiversity and wildlife policy

*Biodiversity Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing International Biodiversity Policy

*CLIMATE-L - A mailing list for news on climate change policy

*Climate Change Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing Global Climate Change Policy

*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
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