Canberra to host major Group on Earth Observations conference next week

Max Blenkin

Next week is Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Week, with Australia to host a major get-together of specialists in the field of Earth observation.

Canberra to host major Group on Earth Observations conference next week
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The event in Canberra features the GEO Ministerial Summit, held every four years and bringing together ministers from GEO’s 105 member governments.

The theme for the 2019 summit is 'Earth observations: Investments in the digital economy'.

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

The Australian Space Agency said GEO Week 2019, running from 4-9 November, was set to be one of the biggest GEO Weeks to date, with delegates from across the world.

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“Earth observation (EO) from space has an untapped potential to grow our economy through improved infrastructure and agriculture monitoring, water management, rapid natural disaster identification, monitoring shipping routes and minerals detection,” the agency said.

“The Australian Space Agency is hosting the Industry Track, where you can see a wide range of Earth observation innovators from around the world showcasing the latest in EO data and technology.”

The industry track recognises the important role of companies in harnessing the full potential of Earth observations and the need to build relationships between the commercial sector and the GEO community.

Hosting the Australian event will be Resources Minister Matt Canavan.

The GEO Week website outlines the government’s 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.

“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 contributing to its progress.

In the GEO ministerial committee in Mexico City in 2015, ministers adopted a new strategic plan for 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.

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