WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will lead the official U.S. Delegation to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) summit in Cape Town, South Africa beginning on Wednesday, November 28, 2007. The Secretary will deliver the U.S. address to the gathered nations during the session on Friday, November 30, 2007.
Established in 2005, GEO is a voluntary partnership of governments and international organizations committed to coordinating earth observation data so as to better inform policy makers and allow for increased prediction, preparation and response to global events such as earthquakes, floods, and drought.
As head of delegation, Secretary Kempthorne will lead the U.S. participation in the meeting. He will also announce a number of important scientific advances, including the North American Drought Monitor program developed by Canada, Mexico and the U.S., new operational use of global climate data, a new low-cost approach to disseminate urgently needed environmental data, and real-time air quality forecasts to protect global public health.
The U.S. is one of four co-chairs of GEO, with more than 70 governments and nearly 50 international organizations participating in GEO at the ministerial level. The meeting in Cape Town will focus on enhanced cooperation among participating nations and the further development of GEOSS, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems. Turning the earth into a new frontier, GEOSS is cutting across borders, sectors and disciplines to open a world of possibilities, enabling scientists, policymakers and the public to envision a world where more people will be fed, more resources will be protected, more diseases will be mitigated or prevented, and more lives will be saved from environmental disasters.