Participation in the 2nd GEOSS Science and Technology Stakeholder Workshop, Bonn (Germany), 28-31 August, 2012

Participation in the 2nd GEOSS Science and Technology Stakeholder Workshop, Bonn (Germany), 28-31 August, 2012
The 2nd GEOSS Science and Technology Stakeholder Workshop presented and discussed the contributions of GEO to the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), possible measures to improve the contributions in the on-going GEO workplan 2012-2015 and proposals for post-2015 GEO workplan. Four out of 8 MDGs are health related. It also addressed the role of the Communities of Practice (CoP) in the GEO workplan.

Many top ranking organisations in the field of sciences and the environment were represented at high level. Two prominent attendees were Barbara Ryan (Secretariat Director of GEO) and Alan Edwards (EC).

Kym Watson (EO2HEAVEN Project coordinator) gave a presentation entitled 'Overview of the EO2HEAVEN contribution to MDG Health' in the plenary session. Kym Watson also represented the GEO Health and Environment CoP where EO2HEAVEN plays an active role. A special session was dedicated to assessing the role of the CoPs in the new GEO structure implemented for the 2012-2015 workplan. The CoPs have different ways of operating with varying levels of relation to the actual GEO workplan. The Health and Environment CoP is seen as a positive example, since it formulated the health tasks HE-01 and HE-02 and is contributing directly to these GEO tasks.

Thanks to this workshop many stakeholder organisations, initiatives and key players in GEO and the environment are now aware of the project EO2HEAVEN and its work. EO2HEAVEN was able to contribute to the proposals for the post-2015 GEO, e.g. to integrate more in-situ sensing, to increase work on decision support systems and to increase the involvement of industry.

In the breakout session B5 on health Gary Foley (EPA) gave an overview of activities in the GEO Health tasks and the GEO Health and Environment CoP. This included the results of the last CoP meeting hosted by EO2HEAVEN in Karlsruhe. He also referred to the importance of the WHO involvement in the health SBA. Although WHO is not a GEO member, a representative of WHO (Rifat Hossain) leads the task HE 01. EO2HEAVEN is working closely with Rifat Hossain with the objective of making the project results sustainable after the project ends.

The proposals for post-2015 GEO will be compiled and distributed to the workshop participants for further comment in the coming weeks. The aspects a) increase work on support for decision making systems and b)  increase industry involvement are likely to be pursued further, even though there will be discussions. Decision support systems can be influenced by political policies, a field where GEO has stayed clear of to date. However, there is wide recognition of the need to prepare and present information in a form suitable for decision making, thus going beyond providing a mere collection of data repositories. The aspect of industry involvement is important for the sustainability of solutions and mitigation actions, as well as for the development of a balance between economy, human well-being and ecology. There was a general consensus that it is essential to integrate remote (satellite, air-borne) and in-situ sensing. In line with the EO2HEAVEN experience, there is a need to support not only professional scientists, but also "citizen scientists". There is an on-going discussion about including social sciences in GEO; this relates to how far GEO aims to support decision making.

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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme. (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 244100 Contact © 2013 EO2HEAVEN Consortium