In October 2019, the GEO Ministerial Summit formally announced Himalayan Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) as Task Group 9 of AOGEO (earlier initiated as a GEO Community Activity). This task group focuses on the mountain regions of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. The HKH is home to the world’s highest peaks, rich culture and biodiversity, and vast reserves of natural resources. The Himalayan GEOSS addresses the gaps in Earth observation (EO) applications in agriculture and food security, water resources, snow and glaciers, disaster risk reduction, land use and land cover change, and ecosystem services. It promotes access to and sharing of data, standards and methodologies. It also fosters regional cooperation to address common issues and works towards building capacities of individuals and institutions focusing on the needs of the region. The task group also plays a key role in supporting countries with EO applications to attain the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all sectors of society and the geospatial community needs to demonstrate the potential of using EO to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 13th AOGEO Symposium also focuses on the impact of COVID-19 in the Asia-Oceania region and enhancing the well-being of the people in the region through Earth Observation.
The specific objectives of the task group meeting are as follows:
- Review achievements and priorities from the Himalayan GEOSS perspective.
- Provide updates on the Himalayan GEOSS activities in the context of COVID-19.
- Address the needs and gaps in the region for promoting EO applications.
- Explore collaborations with other AOGEO Task Groups to build synergies.
- Contribute to the agenda of the 13th AOGEO Symposium.