The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) – a voluntary partnership among governments, international and national organizations, and the private sector, united by the goal of improving the availability, access, and use of Earth observations (EO) to ensure the sustainable use its natural resources – adopted its post-2025 strategy and received guidance from ministers to develop an implementation plan and mobilize resources.

EO “provide a global perspective and a wealth of data about Earth systems, enabling data-informed decision making based on the current and future state of our planet,” the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary report of the meeting notes.

GEO Week 2023 was held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 6-10 November 2023 and included the GEO-19 Plenary, from 8-9 November, and the Ministerial Summit, on 10 November.

Marking a turning point, the 19th session of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO-19) adopted the ‘GEO Post-2025 Strategy: Earth Intelligence for All.’ The Strategy, ENB writes, “not only supports a continuation of GEO’s leadership in coordinating and enabling the provision and use of EO, but now introduces pathways for GEO to coproduce products and services with users and for users, thereby requiring GEO to adapt its operating model.”

Other highlights from GEO-19 include:

  • the launch of the new GEO website, which aims to: increase brand awareness and credibility; provide clearer information and the ability to generate leads; allow for better engagement with target audiences; and improve user experience and accessibility;
  • the introduction of the Global Ecosystems Atlas and the Global Heat Resilience Service – two major programmatic efforts that GEO has been leading since GEO-18;
  • a first-ever session where GEO Week officially engaged with young people on the dais in a “defining moment for GEO” to explain how Earth intelligence will benefit the leaders of tomorrow, during which youth presented the Youth Declaration; and
  • a session dedicated to showcasing GEO achievements from the Team Impact category of the 2023 GEO Awards, with selected stories from the 2023 Highlights Report.

During the Ministerial Summit, “the leaders of governments reaffirmed the GEO commitment to open and free data exchange, encouraged governments to increase free access to EO using public resources, and strongly encouraged flexible, multi-user licensing agreements for non-governmental data.” The Summit adopted a Ministerial Declaration, which, inter alia, charges GEO with developing an implementation plan to guide progress in executing the Post-2025 Strategy and with mobilizing resources. [ENB Coverage of GEO Week 2023]