Workshop Output

Workshop infos

Co-Located Events

Relevant Links and Documents

2nd GEOSS Science and Technology Stakeholder Workshop
GEOSS: Supporting Science for the Millennium Development Goals and Beyond
Bonn, Germany, August 28—31, 2012

Workshop Scope and Objectives

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is implemented the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) with the goal to improve access to, and the use of Earth observations for a broad range of stakeholders. The 10 Year Implementation Plan for GEOSS states “GEOSS is a step toward addressing the challenges articulated by United Nations Millennium Declaration and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. GEOSS will also further the implementation of international environmental treaty obligations.”

The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cover a range of societal issues, all with a target date of 2015:

  1. Eradicte extreme poverty and hunger;
  2. Achive universal primary eduction;
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women;
  4. Reduce child mortality;
  5. Improve maternal health;
  6. Combate HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability;
  8. Develop a global partnership for development.

With this, the “MDGs form a blueprint agreed to by all the world's countries and all the world's leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world's poorest.” Although significant progress has been made towards many of the targets for each MDG, in many areas the goals will not be reached and there is an urgent need to lend more support. Science support is needed for many of the targets, and in most cases, Earth observations play a central role in enabling the required research. Moreover, our increasingly global society is facing a number of grand challenges on a changing planet that cannot be met without dedicated science support. Research for global sustainability needs to address these challenges in a integrated approach bringing together all stakeholders across the scientific disciplines. This has been acknowledged by the Future Earth Initiative. Earth observations are a crucial element of the basis for this research effort.

The objective of the workshop was to review the science questions and research topics that need to be addressed in order to support progress towards the MDGs and towards meeting the grand challenges, prior and after the current target date for the MDGs, and to identify Earth observations needed to facilitate the research.

Scientists and researchers engaged in environmental research supporting the MDGs and addressing the grand challenges are key stakeholders of GEOSS. Aligning the governing strategy for the implementation of GEOSS to the needs of these stakeholders has a high priority for GEO. The workshop reviewed the support of GEOSS for research on global sustainability and gave guidance on how to improve this support.

Workshop Organizers

The workshop was jointly organized by the GEOSS Science and Technology Stakeholder Network and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The workshop was sponsored by the EGIDA Project and co-sponsored by a number of stakeholder organizations and projects, including the Belmont Forum; DIVERSITAS; the European Science Foundation (ESF); the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP); EuroGeoSurveys; the Directorate Environment of the European Commission; the International Council of Science (ICSU); the IEEE International Committee on Earth Observations (IEEE/ICEO); the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP); the International Human Dimension Program on Global Environmental Change (IHDP); the International Social Science Council (ISSC); the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) represented through the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS); the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE); the Global Change System for Aanlysis, Research, and Training (START); the United Nations University Institute of Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS); the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP); and the World Data System (WDS) of ICSU. Projects co-sponsoring the workshop were the projects GeoViqua, and GEOWOW, all funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The Communities of Practice (CoPs) of GEO were represented through the GEO Work Plan Task ID-04.


The workshop brought together more than 80 participants representing many international scientific organizations, United Nations agencies, governmental agencies, funding agencies, and research institutions and universities. The workshop was open to all GEOSS S&T Stakeholders, particularly those who have links to areas relevant for the MDGs. The goal was to bring together representatives of the stakeholder organization in international science and research, funding agencies providing resources for sustainability research, and intergovernmental agencies defining and maintaining frameworks relevant for global sustainability for a dialog on the support provided by GEOSS for sustainability research and monitoring can be better aligned to the needs of the stakeholders.

Workshop Outputs

Draft Documents:

The outcomes of the Workshop are documented in a comprehensive Workshop Report, which provides a summary of the presentations and disucssions, as well as the main outcomes. The report includes three main outputs, which are also available as separate documents: (1) the so-called “Bonn Statement”, an Action Plan for the next three years, and an input document for the Post-2015 GEO Discussion.

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