SWOS project participation to the workshop of the GEO Initiative on Earth Observation for Ecosystem Accounting (EO4EA)

The University of Malaga represented the SWOS project at the EO4EA workshop of the GEO Initiative that took place at the European Environment Agency (EEA) premises in Copenhagen, Denmark on 27-29 March 2017.

The initiative responds to the 2nd GEO Strategic Plan and the 2015 GEO Ministerial Statement, which encourages engaging users to support the UN System of Environmental and Economic Accounts (SEEA), to work with Statistical Agencies and to seek to “integrate EO with Economic and Social data to multiply their value and contribute to solutions.”

International representatives from over the globe attended the meeting including the US State Department, NASA, NOAA, FAO, UNEP, ESA, DG RTD, EEA, JRC, and several representatives from European Member States representing Statistical Departments, as well as the Statistical Department of Canada, and a CSIRO representative from Australia, among others.

The main discussions focused on building an understanding of the nature of Earth Observation data and their possible contribution to Ecosystem Accounting efforts, and active interdisciplinary debates took place between social scientists, environmentalists, statisticians, and EO experts.

Based on this scene setting, interactive sessions including World cafés focused on some discussions related to the definitions of ecosystem extent, condition and ecosystem services as well as on the gaps and needs of data for the community developing the Ecosystem Accounting.

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Dania Abdul Malak, representing SWOS from the University of Malaga, focused her presentation on types of Satellite imagery used in SWOS and the types of products and indicators under development by the project. The presentation was of high interest as it described through specific examples on how the SWOS project results could contribute to fill to the main data needs and gaps raised by the Ecosystem Accounting community at different levels. In the Q/A session, several questions were raised about the possibility of accessing SWOS products. Further, the SWOS toolbox and its use was explained as well as the GEO-Wetlands initiative that SWOS heavily contributes to.

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The third day was dedicated to existing work and the question how it can function as a starting point for the EO4EA initiative. SWOS was asked to contribute and first steps of collaborations were discussed mainly by linking the GEO-Wetlands developments to the EO4EA initiative, and by exploring possibilities of making use of the SWOS toolbox once it becomes accessible.