Regional Workshop on Himalayan GEOSS

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Background 

The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) is the highest mountain range in the world. It provides ecosystem goods and services to about 1.5 billion people living in the region and downstream areas. The region is recognized as one of the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world, due to climate change and rapid social transformations. Mountain areas that are often inaccessible and feature difficult terrain present a formidable challenge to the collection and management of data and information in the region. Earth Observation (EO)—in combination with emerging geo-information and communications technologies, and new innovations—provides viable solutions to bridging important data and knowledge gaps in the region. The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) aspires to fulfilling a vision of bridging those gaps. 

The Himalayan Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) community activity has been initiated to develop coordinated frameworks to implement innovative EO and geospatial solutions and services, in combination with in-situ observation for mountain-specific situations, aligning with regional priorities and GEO’s societal benefits areas. GEOSS community activity will build a platform for regional collaboration by bringing together all GEO members and participating organizations  with thematic line agencies from the region working on EO and geospatial technologies. 

As a knowledge organization with an intergovernmental and regional mandate, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) offers a unique position to foster regional cooperation, develop capacity and relevant information and knowledge to meet the goals of sustainable mountain development in the region. Through its regional programme on Mountain Environment Regional Information System (MENRIS), ICIMOD has been involved in capacity building and promoting EO and geo-information applications in the region. As a participating organization in GEO and the Hindu Kush Himalayan hub for SERVIR—a joint development initiative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), ICIMOD works in partnership with leading regional organizations worldwide. 

ICIMOD intends to facilitate the regional implementation of Himalayan GEOSS with active involvement from its member countries in the HKH. Himalayan GEOSS will ultimately contribute to the development of spatial data infrastructure (SDI) in the region through the promotion of policy, standards, and practices for open access to data, information, and services. Therefore, a regional workshop will certainly help develop an implementation framework for Himalayan GEOSS and ensure collaboration and participation from the member countries, participating organizations, as well as thematic line agencies in the region.

Objectives of the workshop

The regional workshop aims to 

  • Provide a platform for policy dialogue and exchange of technical knowledge focusing on the operationalization of Himalayan GEOSS 
  • Seek inputs and guidance from regional member countries, and key regional and international partners. 
  • Set ground for the development of a coherent working paper towards the implementation of Himalayan GEOSS in line with GEO’s new ten–year strategic plan (2016–2025).