New Caledonia at the GEO Week
15 November 2019
In early November, a New Caledonian delegation attended the annual meeting of the Group on Earth Observation, alongside the French delegation. Called the GEO Week, the event which took place in Canberra this year was attended by about 1.500 participants.
Composed of 108 Member States, 130 international organisations, and numerous private sector representatives, the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) works to facilitate access to and the exchange of information of geophysical data at the global level. Earth measurements, collected by satellites, planes, ships and observatories, are at the heart of GEO's work and its evolution. The Organization's annual meeting took place from 4-9 November and focused on " The Integration of Eath Observation Data in Digital Economies," the goal being to better use these precious information for socio-economic ends. As the organizer of the 2019 edition, Australia wanted to invite Pacific Islands States and Territories, including New Caledonia, alongside the French delegation
New Caledonian Expertise
Led by New Caledonia's Official Representative to Australia, Yves Lafoy, the New Caledonian delegation included representatives from the Government's Department for Technologies and Information Services (DTSI), the company Bluecham and the start-up Insight, both specialized in satellite data treatment and geo-solutions. The small group was able to participate in some of the GEO Week's key sessions. " A more strategic cooperation between the Pacific and the GEO community is a necessity. New Caledonia, with its expertise in earth observation in both the public and private sectors is a genuine partner," argued Yves Lafoy, with representatives of regional countries and territories in attendance. New Caledonia's participation showcased its scientific and technical capabilities in this cutting-edge sector thanks to the know-how of both its public and private sector actors and was an opportunity to lend support to the Australian project involving an observation platform dedicated to the Pacific ( see box below) . New Caledonia, which is already involved in the Pacific Fusion Center initiative led by Australia, used the event as an opportunity to strengthen its regional integration.
Australia wants to develop an earth observation platform dedicated to the region, a project which echoes the announcement of a future Space Observatory for the Climate (SCO) made by the President of the French Republic, Emanuel Macron, during the One Planet Summit , of which the proposed platform could be the Oceanian component. This tool would allow Pacific Islands Countries and Territories to access data to be used to assist decision-making on environmental and climate change issues, which are paramount for the region and its people. The Geo Week concluded with the signing by GEO members of the Talanoa Declaration, which endorses the creation of this platform.