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The GEO Cold Regions Initiative (GEOCRI) contributes to national, regional and international decision-making processes and science strategies.

  • Date: 2018-10-25 09:00 - 2018-10-26 17:30
  • Location Berlin, Germany (Map)


At its 13th meeting (Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 2016), the GEO Plenary requested that GEO focus its efforts on providing earth observations in support of global monitoring frameworks for major policy initiatives, in particular the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties (CoP) Paris Climate Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. With respect to the SDGs, GEO is working with several UN custodian agencies and/or conventions, such as UN Environment (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), to identify those specific targets and indicators where earth observations could provide supplemental data in their assessment. 

The work GEO is doing in the Arctic is directly related to each one of these global policy agendas. The GEO Cold Regions Initiative (GEOCRI) contributes to national, regional and international decision-making processes and science strategies. Via its contributors, GEOCRI provides reliable, science-based earth observation data and information for researchers and policymakers, enabling better, well-informed and more effective decisions in cold regions and beyond. GEO has participated in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Arctic Circle Assemblies, as well as the 2016 and 2018 Arctic Observing Summits, both in recognition of, and to advance, its contributions to monitoring of the Arctic. 


Entities contributing dedicated financial and/or in-kind resources towards GEO projects in the Arctic include: SAON; Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS); Finland Thule Institute; European Commission (EC); European Space Agency (ESA); United States National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC); Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); Japan Agency for MarineEarth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC); Italian Arctic Data Centre (IADC); and the Belmont Forum.


GEOCRI’s vision is to provide coordinated earth observations and information services to a range of stakeholders in order to facilitate well-informed decisions and support the sustainable development of cold regions globally, including for the Arctic. GEOCRI’s mission is to develop a user-driven approach for cold regions information services to complement the mainly current science-driven efforts, which will strengthen synergies among the environmental, climate, and cryosphere research efforts as well as foster collaboration for improved earth observations and information on a global scale. 

The activities conducted in GEOCRI are prioritised by a Science Advisory Group and are grouped into six overarching thematic tasks: 

1. Infrastructures
2. Monitoring networks and data
3. In situ and remote sensing integration
4. User engagement and communication
5. Capacity building and knowledge transfer
6. Management and monitoring

These tasks and related activities are the fundamental elements for liaison, coordination, implementation and reporting. 


The Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council (AC), via the Nuuk Declaration, recognised the importance of the SAON process as a major legacy of the International Polar Year (IPY) for enhancing scientific observations and data sharing. SAON’s vision centres on a connected, collaborative, and comprehensive long-term pan-Arctic observing system that serves many societal needs. SAON’s mission is to facilitate, coordinate, and advocate for coordinated international pan-Arctic observations and mobilise the support needed to sustain them. To that end, SAON is proposing the establishment of an Arctic component of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) as a GEO initiative, titled Arctic GEOSS, which will engage and facilitate connections among the producers and end users of Arctic observations. This regional initiative, downscaling what is done globally in GEO, would further leverage and advance the policies and processes established by GEO’s member governments and participating organisations. 

A roadmap is being developed to realise SAON’s major objectives for Arctic GEOSS, which include identifying resources necessary for supporting infrastructure required to sustain and/or add new observational capabilities and technological innovations to improve observation capacity, promote free and open access to Arctic observational data and ensure the sustainability of Arctic observations. 


The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and the Coordination Group of Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) are two of GEO’s participating organisations, with the former serving as GEO’s space arm for coordination of earth observations from satellites.

Points of contact: 

Gilberto Câmara ( 

Douglas Cripe ( 

Maddie West (  

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