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Logo Third Earth Observation Summit
Summit I
EO Summit I
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Arrow  High-level representatives of 34 world governments met in Washington on 31 July 2003 to discuss and promote the development of comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained Earth Observation (EO) systems. The ad hoc Group on Earth Observation (GEO) was established and charged with developing a framework for activities and a ten-year implementation plan.

In his opening statement to the EO Summit, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “An integrated earth observation system would vastly increase our store of knowledge and leverage billions of dollars of worldwide investment. There is much for you to do here over the next two days and I encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity to exchange experience, ideas, and insight.”
The European Commission’s Director General for Research, Achilleas Mitsos, provided an overview of EU concerns and interests, pointing out that Europe has already demonstrated its political commitment to a coherent EO strategy with the development of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative.
Claudie Haigneré, former astronaut and current French Minister for Research and Education, called for greater political commitment to connecting and expanding the disparate collection of EO platforms around the globe.
The GEO, responsible for preparing the framework and implementation plan, began its work immediately at a two-day inaugural meeting held on 1-2 August 2004. During the meeting, Achilleas Mitsos was elected as one of four GEO co-Chairs, along with retired American Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher and Akio Yuki, Japan’s Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology. South Africa was expected to nominate a fourth co-chair. The Group’s second meeting was to take place in Baveno, Italy on 28-29 November 2003, following the 4th GMES forum.

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