The 18th Symposium and Annual General Meeting(AGM) of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO)dubbed GEO-WEEK 2022 is underway in Accra.
The week-long programme, which is being organised on the theme: “Global Action for Local Impact”, would afford participants the opportunity to delve into issues of mounting environmental challenges and rapid technological advances.
It is also expected to deliberate on global partnerships that are accelerating the use of Earth observations to inform better local decisions on issues such as climate adaptation and food and water security.
Earth observations are data and information collected about the planet which includes satellite data, as well as in situ data.
Topics on the agenda include operational services for Africa, including adaptation plans and GEO’s post 2025 strategy.
GEO is a global partnership that works to make these observations openly available around the world and also convenes partnerships which produce Earth observation-based tools and services to enable better decisions, policies and investments.
The event is also designed as an opportunity for knowledge exchange, learning and international collaboration and comprises the plenary-decision-making sessions that are only open to GEO delegations, including those working on Earth observations and relevant policy areas ranging from youth, academia, civil society and private sector.
It is being organised by the GEO Secretariat in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI); Ghana Statistical Service (GSS); the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), as well as the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI).
The Chief Director of MESTI, Cynthia Asare Bediako, speaking at the opening, charged the participants to take major decisions that would help protect the natural environment of member countries.
According to her, the planned policies and programmes, when followed, coupled with change of attitude towards the natural vegetation, would put an end to land degradation, pollution of water bodies and digging every part of land in the name of galamsey.
MsBediako assured of governments resolve to implement any decision taken at the end of the conference in order to prevent disaster befalling the continent.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Professor Elvis Asare Bediako, who is also a focal person, said satellites can be used to study water resources and their levels of pollution, depletion or the image of a country.
He expressed optimism that the University would be selected as annual hosts of this conference because of the unique niche it has created in this very relevant area.
Mr Robin Mugo, who spoke on behalf of the Director General, Regional Centre for Managing of Resources for Development, AFRI GEO Centre, Dr Emmanuel Nkuvunziza, attributed the achievements of the group to the resilience of members who have worked very hard in capacity building and membership drive, increasing their numbers, and continuing to play that role.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU