Towards a GEO-Wetlands Initiative and a Global Wetlands Observing System (GWOS)
A global partnership coordinated by the University of Bonn, Wetlands International and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, submitted a proposal for a new GEO-Wetlands Initiative (for the 2017-2019 GEO Work Programme) to the GEO Programme Board. The main objectives of this Initiative will be to establish a governance and ownership structure as institutional framework for the development and maintenance of the Global Wetlands Observing System (GWOS), to implement it on the technical level and to form a Global Wetland Community of Practice (GEO-Wetlands CoP) that engages users and providers of EO data and knowledge from all levels and sectors. This comprises advocating the use of EO data and innovative analysis and data harmonization approaches as well as the development of standardized and user-friendly tools, information and knowledge tailored to the specific needs of users and stakeholders.
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has been working on the conceptualization and realization of the GWOS since 2007. From 2011 onwards this effort was coordinated by GEO BON and specifically its Freshwater Ecosystem Change Working Group (WG4). This newly proposed GEO Initiative will be a major step towards its implementation and ensures that currently ongoing projects like the “Satellite-based Wetland Observation Service” (SWOS; Horizon 2020 Project), GlobWetland-Africa (ESA project), Global Mangrove Watch (GMW; JAXA project) and others can cooperate efficiently under a common set of global objectives and tasks. While keeping its very strong links to GEO BON, the evolution into a stand-alone GEO-Wetlands Initiative is expected to lead to a much broader and more comprehensive approach for global monitoring and assessment of wetland ecosystems in all their aspects.
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