Switzerland has a proven record in its strong commitment to environmental policy at national and international level. GEO (and its Global Earth Observation System of Systems GEOSS), while relying on high-quality national environmental monitoring systems, provides an important contribution to the identification, documentation and monitoring of such environmental objectives at the global level. Therefore, Switzerland is a full member of GEO and has actively participated in the establishment of GEO in Geneva and in the development of GEOSS.
Established in 2005, GEO is a voluntary partnership of governments and organizations that envisions “a future wherein decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations and information.” GEO Member governments include 104 nations and the European Commission, and 114 Participating Organizations comprised of international bodies with a mandate in Earth observations.
Together, the GEO community is creating a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) that will link Earth observation resources world-wide across multiple Societal Benefit Areas – agriculture, biodiversity, climate, disasters, ecosystems, energy, health, water and weather – and make those resources available for better informed decision-making. Finally, the GEOSS will provide decision-support tools to a wide variety of users and will be a global and flexible network of content providers allowing decision makers to access a wide range of high-quality information. It will proactively link together existing and planned observing systems around the world and support the development of new systems where gaps currently exist.
About GEO in Switzerland
Within the Swiss federal administration, the FOEN represents the role of “Principal” for GEO, followed by the MeteoSwiss acting as “Alternate Principal” in collaboration with further relevant federal Departments, namely the FDFA. The FOEN is in charge of the national coordination and acts as the Swiss Focal Point for GEO. The national GEO coordination group consists of representatives from the federal administration as well as research institutions.
Hosting the GEO Secretariat, Switzerland supports GEO financially in terms of providing infrastructure and personnel. Since the establishment of GEO the Secretariat has been based in Geneva under the auspices of WMO. As a member of GEO, Switzerland intends to increase its contribution particularly in the fields of monitoring and data management in close collaboration with the national academic institutions, particularly in the areas of disaster risk, climate, the water and biodiversity. Priority is given to a coherent and effective harmonization of national and international activities related to environmental monitoring technologies. To this end, GEOSS offers significant potential for integrated assessment and modelling (i.e. in the areas of biodiversity, ecosystems and forests).
Swiss GEO contributions
- One of the key operators of the Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) station Jungfraujoch (GAW represents the global backbone of atmospheric observations (Global Climate Observing System or the World Meteorological Organization WMO))
- Contribution to the Quality Assurance System of the WMO-GAW programme: WCC-Empa & QA/SAC – Switzerland
- Twinning, support and capacity building especially in developing countries, e.g. through the CATCOS project
- Contribution to international measurement guidelines, instrument comparisons, standard operation procedures and outreach
- Estimating emissions, in support of international treaties (i.e. Paris Agreement) serving as a role model for IG3I (Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System GAW)
- Partner of ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observing System) CH; member of the ICOS Research Infrastructure committee (ICOS Head Office: co-coordinator of the GEO Carbon & GHG Initiative)
- Provision of GAW data to GEOSS (atmospheric composition, reactive gases, GHGs, Particulate Matter)
- Member and Co-leader of varoius GEO Working Groups and Initiatives and GEO/GEOSS IDIB
- Task coordinator and member of GEO Disaster SBA Task force
- Research projects at the University of Geneva with link to GEO: enviroGRIDS, EOPOWER, IASON, ACQWA, Pegaso, AfroMAISON
- The enviroSPACE laboratory at the University of Geneva is dedicated to spatial analyses. Among others, the lab also contribute to the TIGERS academic activities to promote Technology and Information for Geographic and Environmental Research
- Contributions to EuroGEOSS Hub and GEOSS-EVOLVE Initative
- Leading GEOEssential (a new H2020 ERA-Planet project is addressing the need for trusted sources of data and information to monitor the progresses made on environmental conditions towards policy targets)
- Linked to EO4SDG and the SDG indicator framework
- Compilation of the Swiss Data Cube (SDC) jointly developed & managed by a team from the UN Environment/Science Division/GRID-Geneva together with the University of Geneva/enviroSPACE
- Deliverables and workshop and research results provided to GEOSS (EOPOWER, IASON, enviroGRIDS)
- UNEP/DEWA/GRID-Geneva: Black sea beaches geodatabase provided to GEOSS
- Key contributions to GEO-BON (Biodiversity Observation Network): scientific publications, enforcing of Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBV)
- Leading house for bioDISCOVERY (future earth)
- World Glacier Monitoring Service is appointed for Copernicus Climate Change Services Glacier
- Different global research programs running at the University of Zurich, leading research in the field of biodiversity monitoring from space
- New positions and representations of space borne biodiversity monitoring at international conferences
- Key contributions to Aquawatch (GEO Initiative)
- In-situ monitoring of oxygen depletion in hypoxic ecosystems of coastal, open seas, and land-locked water bodies data provision to GEOSS
- Water chemistry measurements data provision to GEOSS
- River network databases data provision to GEOSS
- Dams location data provision to GEOSS
- MeteoSchweiz: Meteorological and climatological measurements and data provision in Switzerland, Contributions to europeand meteorological infrastructure (ECMWF, EUMETNET, EUMETSAT), contributions to the Global Climate Observing System and the Global Atmospheric Watch program, Capacity Building and leading activities in the establishment of the WMO OSCAR, NCCS/Climate Services, WarningsSwiss
- Agendy for Development and Cooperation: GEO-GNOME support
- Swisstopo: Tectonic/Geological maps provision to GEOSS
- Mountain Research Initiative (University of Bern): Leader of GEO-GNOME initiative
- ETH Zürich: Earthquake expert input to the GEO Geohazard Supersites and Natural Laboratories (GSNL)
Last modification 18.12.2018