Switzerland: To strengthen the use of technology to improve global health, the Group on Earth Observations announced a new partnership through an agreement with the World Health Organization. The announcement was made during the GEO 37th Executive Committee Meeting held in Geneva on 6 – 7 July.
Eight new organizations joined GEO: Association of Geospatial Industries (AGI), African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education-English (ARCSSTEE), Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN), Global Flood Partnership (GFP), Humanitarian Open Street Map (HOT), Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS), World Ocean Council (WOC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
Public health is a key area where Earth observations can help address global challenges such as those identified in the Sustainable Development Goals, under Goal 3, Good Health and Well-being. GEO promotes use of applications to visualize data in order to make improved decisions to attain the Agenda 2030 aim to leave no one behind.
“WHO sees participation in GEO as a positive step towards use of Earth observations for improved decision making on Public health” says Dr. Ed Kelley, director of Service Delivery and Safety Department at WHO, who will serve as the representative of WHO to GEO.”
“The use of geospatial data is critical to advancing disease detection and containment efforts. Being part of GEO would allow WHO secretariat and its member states to benefit from the space-based technologies” says, Dr. Ramesh Krishnamurthy, Senior Advisor, who serves as the alternate representative of WHO to GEO.
GEO’s China Chair Dr. Liao Xiaohan, Deputy Director General, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, stated, “Public health is central to development and we must improve our efforts to harness Earth observations technologies to visualize the accessibility of health centers, to monitor air quality and to track pollutant and disease outbreaks.”