trategic Development of a Transnational and Interregional Initiative in the Balkan Region to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals by Integrating Earth Observation Activities in the Agri-Food Sector
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF GROUP ON EARTH OBSERVATION
Context and Motivation
The agreed international commitments in regard to sustainable development and adaptation to climate change, as well as several geopolitical and social pressures like the global economic crisis, illuminate the need to provide the agricultural and rural sectors with the proper access to modern infrastructure and tools that can support decision-making processes. In that respect, the conclusions adopted by the meeting of G20 Agriculture Ministers, on January 22nd 2017 in Berlin, highlighted the need to take advantage of the potentials of Earth Observation and Information and Communication Technology applications, in order to ensure modern digital solutions for sustainable agriculture.
In this line, the Group on Earth Observations [GEO] actively supports and promotes the appropriate actions for better informed decision-making across multiple Societal Benefit Areas, utilizing all kinds of Earth Observation systems. In the case of the primary sector, reliable, accurate, timely and sustained monitoring information and forecasts are required at various scales. To that end, the G20 Ministerial Declaration launched the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring [GEOGLAM] initiative in June 2011, with the aim of enhancing agriculture resilience and its economic growth via the exploitation of Earth Observation and Information and Communication Technology synergies.
As an immediate follow-up to the actions aforementioned, GEO members, participating organizations, and other involved entities through their engagement formed a regional ecosystem and conceptualized a plan to develop a cooperative effort of Balkan countries, promoting the uptake of Earth Observation services and addressing societal needs with a common perspective. The economies of the countries in the Balkan Peninsula are strongly reliant on agricultural activities, emerging the agricultural sector and food security as areas of great importance to the region and as the main pillars of this initiative.
To provide strategic direction in order to address the national and regional interests and needs, the ecosystem’s aspiration is to establish a long term structured partnership in line with the principles of shared benefits and implementation of sound policies via monitoring and reporting progress towards Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], considering that the Balkan region is the epicenter of several geopolitical and social pressures.
In the light of the above, the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food and the Greek Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media invite you to attend in the 1st Round table aiming to develop an integrated programme and an interregional initiative to achieve the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in the Balkan Peninsula.
The meeting will be held in Vlasti Kozani, Greece on Saturday 17th of June.
Goals and expected impacts
- Establish a regional network that will have a sustainable effect and can be considered as a significant contribution towards a regional implementation of GEO vision in the area through the establishment of a GEOBALKAN initiative
- Set up a capacity building programme to leverage existing expertise, and scale up existing capabilities throughout the region so that Earth Observations and Information and Communication Technology applications take a leading role into the national decision making mechanisms
- Establish a new interregional funding scheme among the participating countries for the development of efficient services that promote innovative solutions to better address societal needs and enhance the national economies
- Identify and set up a network among the participants that will have a key role in the engagement and collaboration with user stakeholders that would significantly benefit from using Earth Observations to ensure the implementation and monitoring of SDGs
The Region of Western Macedonia and the Decentralized Administration of Epirus and Western Macedonia are organizing and hosting the activities of the 1st Round Table Meeting, while Interbalkan Environment Center [i-BEC] acts as the accelerator of the whole endeavor in the Balkan region.
Agenda-17th June 2017, 14.00, Vlasti, Kozani
|13:00 -14:00||Arrival at Vlasti – Light Lunch|
|14:00||Greetings – Start of Proceedings|
|14:15 – 15:15||Transnational Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Balkans|
|14:15 – 14:45||The key role of GEO supporting the need for enhancement and collaboration between the Balkans Stakeholder Ecosystem
Ryan Barbara [Secretariat Director of the Intergovernmental Group of Earth Observation of the United Nations, GEO]
|14:45 – 15:00||Modernization of the Agri-Food Sector: Challenges and Opportunities
Evangelos Apostolou [Minister, Ministry of Rural Development and Food]
|15:00 – 15:15||The Greek Strategic Development Plan for the utilization of Earth Observation technology
Vasileios Magklaras [Secretary General of Communications, Ministry of Digital Policy Telecommunications and Media]
|15:15 – 16:00||Utilization of Space Technologies and Applications to implement Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]
Items to be discussed
► Satellite Earth Observation Systems: Requirements and Prospects
► Increasing Productivity, Sustainability and Traceability in the Agri-food Sector Using Space Technologies and Applications
► Exploitation of Earth Observation Data to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals
► BalkanGEOSS: Access to thematically combined information for holistic decisions and solutions
Earth Observation Systems and Technologies in agri-food sector
Research collaboration and knowledge sharing
Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development
|16:00 – 16:15||1st round of interventions from participants|
|16:15 – 17:00||Regional Coordination and Support towards the Implementation of the Initiative
Items to be discussed
► Roadmap for Territorial Cooperation among the Balkan countries
► Means for transferring know-how at regional level
► Set up a network of national point of contacts for the effective monitoring of the Initiative
§ Sabina Syulyunchieva [Secretary General, Chief expert of Strategic planning and European programs, Regional Administration of Kardzhali, Bulgaria]
§ Fanis Papas [Vice Governor of Rural Economy, Region of Central Macedonia]
§ George Zalidis [Scientific Coordinator of Interbalkan Environment Center]
|17:00 – 17:15||2nd round of interventions from participants|
|17:15 – 17:45||Improve the implementation of regional development policies to actively support entrepreneurship development and capacity building as a building block for business creation and growth
Items to be discussed
► Reinforcing the economies of the countries through the development of multiple activities in emerging business sectors [or areas of entrepreneurship]
► Support for entrepreneurship and innovation in the Balkans
► EU participation in research and innovation cooperation initiatives
|17:45 – 18:00||3rd round of interventions from participants|