Thursday, 10 November 2016, the GEO-Wetlands Initiative has been officially approved by the GEO-XIII Plenary taking place in St. Petersburg, Russia. A diverse, global community consisting of partners from different projects, organizations and institutions has, over the past year, been preparing a first implementation plan for GEO-Wetlands, coordinated by the University of Bonn, the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and Wetlands International.
The official launch of GEO-Wetlands is a huge opportunity for the whole wetlands community. It provides a framework for cooperation and for ensuring the long-term availability of mapping and monitoring services for wetlands that are currently being developed by different international projects. It moves the development of a Global Wetlands Observation System (GWOS), a long-term endeavor of the Ramsar Convention and the wetlands community, from a conceptual stage to implementation.
The SWOS project is making valuable contributions to GEO-Wetlands by providing manpower for managing the initiative, developing a pilot infrastructure for the GWOS Portal, preparing a software toolbox for wetlands mapping and monitoring and finally by demonstrating the value of EO products in pilot cases focusing on different policy and user requirements. GEO-Wetlands is expected to provide a long-term home and management body to keep the achievements and products of SWOS and several other projects available for the user community in an operational, policy and user driven system that is being co-designed and developed by the community in a collaborative effort.
By Adrian Strauch, University of Bonn