Towards an integrated and convergent EuroGEO
22 Dec 2022

Towards an integrated and convergent EuroGEO

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The EuroGEO community met in Athens for its annual workshop from 7 to 9 December 2022. The event attracted more than 260 participants from across Europe, coming from international organizations, national and local administrations, the private sector and other organizations engaged in the Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe programmes or GEO work programme initiatives.

The workshop was co-organized by the Greek General Secretariat for Research and Innovation, the National Observatory of Athens, the Hellenic Group on Earth Observations and the European Commission. It focused on preparing the next journey for EuroGEO, assessing progress made and mapping the way forward, in the context of the European Green Deal, the GEO engagement priorities, and GEO’s post-2025 evolution.

This year’s workshop represented a milestone for European GEO activities as it brought together a wide range of European Environmental Observation actors and consolidated European activities and initiatives within the European context with regards to Copernicus, Destination Earth and others, as well as the global picture through GEO.

The three-day workshop started with side-events bringing together the EuroGEO Action Groups on various themes, including agriculture, disaster monitoring, and Earth observations (EO) for urban and health monitoring and renewable energy. It brought together experts engaged in numerous Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe projects all focusing on the uptake of EO data to address the societal and environmental challenges of our times.

The formal opening session of the workshop included interventions from the GEO Co-chair Joanna Drake, from the Research Executive Agency (Paul Webb) and from other services of the European Commission (Directorate Generals for Defence Industry and Space and the Joint Research Centre). The Director of the GEO Secretariat Yana Gevorgyan delivered a keynote speech on the path towards the design of the next GEO Strategy for the period beyond 2025. Greek high-level interventions focussed on the benefits of Earth observation to their country, and contributions from the European Environment Agency and the European Space Agency completed this first plenary session.

The second day was devoted to 16 parallel sessions addressing a variety of topics such as biodiversity, oceans, urban resilience, EO in support of the One Health initiative, climate services or polar knowledge needs, access to in-situ data, engagement with the commercial sector, EO platforms and infrastructure. Forty posters resulted in fruitful discussions between participants.

The last day focused on the further exploitation of the e-shape project, a project that has translated the EuroGEO ambitions into tangible pre-operational showcases covering the priorities of the European Green Deal and the Climate transition. Two panels discussed platforms and infrastructure to support the GEO community, and on European contribution to the Post-2025 GEO Strategy. In particular, the community presented its key priorities for the future of GEO, stating the importance of the intergovernmental dimension of the initiative, controlled engagement with the commercial sector and keeping and further developing the principles of open data and open knowledge that have been key ingredients of GEO.

The final session included three keynotes from speakers outside the EuroGEO community. Speakers from the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, the UN SDSN Global Climate Hub and UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre explained the benefits they see from using EO to feed their respective policy agendas and explored next steps to engage with EuroGEO and GEO as a whole.

The workshop was the first physical meeting after three years of virtual interaction, putting a spotlight on the vibrant EuroGEO community and benefiting from Greek hospitality and excellent organization from the hosts.

Presentations from the workshop are made available on the event website