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IP/10/1464

Brussels, 4th November 2010

European Commission pushes forward global collaboration on Earth Observation at Beijing Ministerial Summit (5 November 2010)

Vice-President Tajani will co-chair the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Ministerial Summit in Beijing. This major international summit will review progress in the building of a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). GEOSS will provide comprehensive and coordinated earth observations from thousands of instruments worldwide and transform the data they collect into vital information for society. The aim is to address priorities in the areas of natural and human-induced disasters, agriculture and desertification, human health and well-being, energy resources, climate variability and change, water cycle, weather, ecosystems and biodiversity. Three countries (China, South Africa and the United States) co-chair the Summit alongside the European Commission.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship said ahead of the meeting: "The putting into place of GEOSS will provide valuable information for people across the globe and help tackle challenges such as natural disasters, desertification, climate change, and issues related to human health, ecosystems and biodiversity. In order for effective observation to be possible, collaboration between nations across the globe is essential. By co-chairing this Ministerial Summit, the Commission aims at strengthening such global and constructive collaboration."

GEO is a high-profile and growing partnership made up of 83 governments and the European Commission, with the active participation of 58 international organisations. It leads a global effort to create within the next ten years a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), to provide better information for decision-makers in the realms of the environment, climate and sustainable development.

GEO was established in 2005 in order to coordinate efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and to carry out the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan. The objective is to provide comprehensive and coordinated earth observations from thousands of instruments worldwide and transform the data they collect into vital information for society. The European Commission supports the GEO through the RTD Framework Programme which provides annually some €20 million to this initiative.

In parallel to the Summit, Vice-President Tajani will meet bilaterally the three co-chairs.

In the meeting with the Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Wan Gang, Vice-President Tajani will reiterate the need for an effective and reinforced China-EU cooperation on space matters, in particular in the field of space applications.

The meeting with US Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Mr David J. Hayes is expected to contribute to the ongoing and productive EU-US dialogue on space matters, in particular to open the way for possible cooperation in the area of space applications and climate change.

In the meeting with the South African Minister for Science and Technology, Ms. Naledi Pandor, the EU-South Africa Space Dialogue will be reviewed. Vice-President Tajani will underline the importance of continued good collaboration. It will be an occasion for him to express satisfaction as regards the progress of the European Global Navigation Overlay System service to South Africa. He will furthermore reaffirm Europe’s strong support for the "GMES and Africa" initiative.


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