German contribution to the Group on Earth Observations and the establishment of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems

GEOSS in brief :: About GEO :: About D-GEO :: European contributions - Copernicus and INSPIRE :: German Contributions :: Documents :: News

Deutsche Version


About GEO

Documents and Links

In consequence of the resolutions of the G8 summit in Evian in June 2003 to promote international cooperation in the field of earth observation, the first "Earth Observation Summit" (EOS) took place in Washington D.C. on July 31st, 2003. Upon invitation of the US government high-level representatives from more than 30 states as well as international organizations met, in order to discuss the establishment of globally coordinated earth observation system. A declaration called for support of the following points:

  • Improved coordination of strategies and systems for observations of the Earth and identification of measures to minimize data gaps, with a view to moving toward a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained Earth observation system or systems;
  • A coordinated effort to involve and assist developing countries in improving and sustaining their contributions to observing systems, as well as their access to and effective utilization of observations, data and products, and the related technologies by addressing capacity-building needs related to Earth observations;
  • The exchange of observations recorded from in situ, aircraft, and satellite networks, in a full and open manner with minimum time delay and minimum cost, recognizing relevant international instruments and national policies and legislation; and
  • Preparation of a 10-year Implementation Plan, building on existing systems and initiatives.

In consequence an international working group (ad hoc Group on Earth Observations) up to coordinate the basic documents to GEOSS. As intermediate step a framework document was accepted on the 2nd Earth Observation Summit on 25 April 2004 in Tokyo.

The GEOSS 10- year implementation plan was finally adopted at the 3rd Earth Observation Summit on 16 February 2005 in Brussels.

Now since the first plenary in May 2005 in the intergovernmental forum "Group on Earth Observations" (GEO) brings together governments and relevant international organizations for the coordination of their earth observation activities on a voluntary basis and promotes the establishment of GEOSS. An executive committee steers the activities between the annual plenaries. Germany was elected to this committee as one of three European representatives. Four specialized committees and one working group steer the implementation of the GEOSS 10 year plan. For administrative support a GEO Secretariat was established, hosted by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in Geneva.

> Group on Earth Observations (GEO)

The third GEO Plenary at Bonn, Germany in November 2006 adopted the 2007-2009 GEO work plan that specifies 72 tasks in nine societal benefit areas (SBA) and four cross-cutting themes.

GEO-III Plenary at Bonn, Germany

> GEO 2007-2009 Work Plan

Ministers of the GEO Members met in Cape Town (South Africa) following the fourth GEO Plenary in November 2007. They welcomed the progress of GEO and adopted the Cape Town Declaration, which reaffirms the commitment to GEO and its objectives.

> Cape Town Declaration

The fifth GEO Plenary (Bucharest, November 2008) adopted a new GEO Work Plan for 2009-2011. This new Work Plan contains 42 overarching Tasks and aims at developing cross-coordination between related activities. As the previous work plan, this work plan is considered a "living document" and is updated annually in an expert review procedure.

> GEO 2009-2011 Work Plan

The seventh GEO Plenary session (November 2010) in Beijing (China) also included a ministerial segment. The GEO Member States acknowledged progress in the implementation of the GEOSS at half-time of the 10-year period. In addition, a Data Sharing Action Plan was accepted for the implementation of the GEO Data Sharing Principles. The official results document of the Ministerial Summit is the Beijing Declaration.

> Data Sharing Action Plan

> Beijing Declaration


   ©  German GEO Secretariat at DLR