GEO CO-CHAIR & DIRECTOR
2020 was a milestone year for GEO. We promoted the GEO Strategic Plan 2016-2025: Implementing GEOSS, launched the implementation of the Canberra Declaration and we started the GEO Work Programme 2020-2022 as well.
However, 2020 was also a challenging year for GEO. In the context of COVID-19, adjustment and change have been the new normal. 2020 became an innovative year for GEO. Everyone has been cultivating new opportunities during the crisis, it has made us all develop new approaches due to the changing situation.
Building on the solid work of the previous Lead Co-Chairs, I was honoured and proud to serve as the 2020 Lead Co-Chair. I was pleased to lead the GEO community to move forward without hesitation, even during times when the pandemic was impacting everyone globally.
GEO acted quickly when COVID-19 turned into a pandemic and called for COVID-19 projects from the global GEO community to be shared and communicated. This also showed to the international community the achievements and experience in response and recovery of COVID-19 utilizing Earth observation technology and geospatial information, which fully reflects GEO's global perspective and momentum.
GEO welcomed new members and partners this year, notably more developing countries and small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs). We continued support for climate action, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable development.
We have also deepened cooperation with various United Nations agencies and organizations. For example, with UN-Habitat we have laid a solid foundation for the promotion of urban resilience and sustainable urbanization. We also achieved a new breakthrough in the development of GEOSS—the Implementation Plan of the GEO Knowledge Hub was finalized after many rounds of discussions, and actions were kicked off immediately.
For the very first time, GEO successfully held Executive Committee meetings and
the GEO Symposium virtually, which overcame time zone differences and other constraints while international travel was difficult. We have also prepared the virtual GEO Week 2020, containing a variety of special activities and engaging broadly. Furthermore, the GEO Selection Panel has done a great job to recruit the new GEO Secretariat Director. We expect that all this work will continue to ensure the great value of GEO, and further pursue the vision and mission of GEO.
This year, we are more deeply aware that we live in the same global village and only mutual support, solidarity, and cooperation are the right way to overcome the crisis. This thinking is aligned with GEO’s mission where it “envisions a future where decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by Earth observations.”
I hope that the GEO community can continue to move forward in the future, live up to our mission, adapt to the times, and continue to gain public trust.