Geo Week 2023, held from November 6-10 in Cape Town, South Africa, was a pivotal gathering for 115 member governments, and 152 participating organizations. The summit highlighted the collaborative ethos that defines the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), uniting more than 100 national governments and 100+ organizations. This year's theme, "The Earth is talking," echoed through the halls, underscoring the essential role of Earth observation in steering informed actions and policies on a global scale.
Meghavi Prashnani's talk highlighted the enduring partnership between NASA and GEO, focusing on the transformative impact of initiatives like HARVEST on global water and food security. She elaborated on the evolution and achievements of this collaboration, showcasing how programs underpinning GEOGLAM have propelled Earth Observation capabilities across continents. The presentation aimed to reflect on the synergistic gains of NASA-GEO union, its positive ramifications for on-the-ground decision-making, and the collective progress while looking ahead to address upcoming challenges.
A session on measuring essential variables with high-level satellite products, in-situ sensors and API standards was led by Shunlin Liang and Eric Vermont. The session delved into the intricacies of transforming remote sensing data into high-level products, underscoring the urgency of collaborative efforts in the face of the triple planetary crisis focused on the critical need for collaboration across various sectors to address the triple planetary crisis. The session emphasized the integration of high-level satellite products, in-situ sensors, and API standards in Earth observation. Key discussion points included challenges in transforming remote sensing data into refined products and strategies to enhance research infrastructures and national agency sensors to better monitor and respond to global environmental issues.
GEOGLAM's involvement in Geo Week 2023 was significant and multifaceted. The first two days featured multiple events from the GEOGLAM community, including flash talks, showcases, and workshops, highlighting global agricultural perspectives. The team's contributions were also featured in the GEO Highlights Report 2023, highlighting two significant impact stories from Harvest: the assessment of agriculture in conflict-affected Ukraine and the improvement of agricultural statistics for better monitoring and reporting. In recognition of these efforts, GEOGLAM received the GEO 2023 Team Impact Award, celebrating its outstanding collaborative achievements.
In parallel, Meghavi Prashnani was recognized with the ‘Emerging Leader Award’ for her decade-long dedication to Earth Observation through various programs including NASA Land cover Land-Cover and Land-use Change, Indian Space Research Organization, GEOGLAM and NASA Harvest, majorly focusing on advancing food and water security through geospatial data.
The session "Capacity co-development opportunities for impactful Agriculture and Food Security interventions" workshop at Geo Week 2023, was organized by Andy Nelson from the University of Twente and Esther Makabe from GEOGLAM, focused on sharing tools, methodologies, and practical experiences in applying Earth Observation (EO) resources in agriculture. The session aimed to enhance GEOGLAM's training initiatives and raise awareness about the use of EO for agricultural improvement, thereby contributing to long-term societal benefits.
During Geo Week 2023, GEOGLAM bid farewell to Ian Jarvis, who retired as the program's Director. In a symbolic gesture of appreciation and recognition, Ian was presented with a ceremonial gift, marking his significant contributions. This event also served as the platform to welcome Sven Gilliams as the new Director of GEOGLAM.
The week concluded with the significant adoption of the GEO Post-2025 Strategy, and 2023 Cape Town Ministerial Declaration aiming to provide "Earth Intelligence for All," reinforcing the commitment to open data exchange, and highlighting the role of Earth observations in sustainable development and global challenges like climate change and food security.