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Canberra to host GEO Week and ministerial summit

Max Blenkin
Canberra to host GEO Week and ministerial summit

Canberra will host the Group on Earth Observations’ (GEO) GEO Week in November, a major event set to be attended by a wide range of specialists in the field of Earth observation from space.

Significantly, the 2019 event in Canberra features the GEO Ministerial Summit, which is only held every four years and brings together ministers from GEO’s 105 member governments.

The theme for the 2019 summit is “Earth observations: investments in the digital economy”.

The Canberra event also features an Industry Track, with technology and space companies from around the world invited to attend and promote their capabilities.


“The launch of the Industry Track recognises the important role companies play in harnessing the full potential of Earth observations and the need to build relationships between the commercial sector and the GEO community,” the Australian Space Agency said.

GEO Week will be held from 4-9 November with main events in Canberra’s National Convention Centre.

Geo Week 2018 was held in Kyoto, Japan, while GEO Week 2017 was held in Washington.

Hosting the Australian event will be Resources Minister Matt Canavan. The GEO Week website outlines the vision for the ministerial summit.


“In our rapidly changing world, almost all economic activity and almost all business decisions must consider how the planet on which we depend is changing,” it said.

“At the same time, digital technologies are disrupting our societies and economies, changing how we work and how we live. This change is happening at an extremely rapid pace, and presents us with new challenges and opportunities to deliver sustained and inclusive economic growth.

“The integration of Earth observation data into the broader digital economy will be critical to achieving this goal.”

The website said Pacific island countries and territories are disproportionately exposed to the impacts of climate change, disasters and economic development challenges and have expertise and knowledge essential to the future work of GEO.

As host, Australia will facilitate discussions on how the Pacific island countries and territories can engage with GEO, benefit from its efforts and contribute to its progress.

In the ministerial commit in Mexico City in 2015, ministers adopted a new strategic plan for GEO, with GEO to support progress in key areas, including sustainable development, climate change and disaster risk reduction.

GEO’s efforts support three global frameworks – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Paris Climate Accord and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

“The GEO community has completed its realignment towards these new strategic priorities and is now structured for action. The broader discussion on implementing the three global agendas has matured, both at a global level within formal UN institutions, but most critically at a national and community level. The action required is clearer,” the website said.

“The business case for Earth observation as a driver of economic growth has become clearer in the minds of those outside the Earth observation community."

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