Ghana will host the 18th Annual Meeting of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Week from Monday, October 31 to Friday, November 4, 2022, at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Amid mounting environmental challenges and rapid technological advances, the meeting will show how global partnerships are accelerating the use of earth observations to inform local decisions on issues such as climate adaptation, and food and water security.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, who launched the GEO Week, said it would accelerate global collaboration using earth observations as evidence for local impact in Africa and around the world.
He said human ingenuity and science had caused environmental challenges, to which the application of science could help find solutions.
The Minister called on stakeholders to work together to find innovative solutions to the multiple challenges towards building resilient economies, food and water systems, and sustainable management of forest resources and biodiversity.
Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, the Government Statistician, underscored the importance of investment in GEO data in developing pathways for national and global development.
He said when the investment was channelled into supporting the changing faces of data systems and transition into earth observations, it would help reduce social and economic inequalities.
Ms Yana Gevorgyan, the Director of the GEO Secretariat, lauded Ghana for taking a keen role in the earth sciences to inform policy decisions, particularly in tackling marine degradation and forestry, which led to a ban on logging.
She called for a rich international regime to gather and share the cost of gathering, analysing and making data available to policy decision-makers to take preventive actions to protect lives and livelihoods.
Ms Gevorgyan said: “With extreme weather events becoming more frequent, and environmental and societal challenges multiplying, accurate and trusted environmental intelligence is more important than ever.”
“The GEO community has made great strides responding to this demand—opening up access to data and convening partnerships that provide evidence for better decisions.”
“But despite these advances, many countries still do not have access to the right information, at the right time and in the right format. As we meet in Ghana, we must consider new ways of thinking and partnering, to accelerate global action for local impact.”
The GEO Week will gather leading scientists, space agencies, governments and private sector companies towards fostering partnerships based on open data and the best available science, to support better decision-making.
It is designed as an opportunity for knowledge exchange, learning and international collaboration.
It comprises the Plenary – decision-making sessions that are only open to GEO delegations – as well as a series of side events and an exhibition.
Topics on the agenda include Operational services for Africa, including the Digital Earth Africa Initiative, nature-based solutions, National Adaptation Plans and GEO Post 2025 Strategy.
The side events include an industry track, which will focus on public-private partnerships, and a youth track, providing young people (including students and early career professionals) with opportunities to share their experiences and connect with private sector companies.
These side events are open to participants working on Earth observations and relevant policy areas from youth, academia, civil society, and the private sector.