BalkanGEONet: Balkan GEO Network – Towards Inclusion of Balkan Countries into Global Earth Observation Initiatives

logo_bgnInclusion of all Balkan countries into GEO and their contribution to GEOSS is of great importance, since only a comprehensive EO framework can lead to better understanding and more intelligent utilization of the environmental resources, increased quality of life and faster economic development. The importance and benefits from participation in global EO initiatives have already been recognized by several Balkan countries. However, a great number of Balkan countries are still not members of GEO.
The main objective of the Project is to identify and coordinate EO activities in the wider Balkan region and to pave the way for future full inclusion of all Balkan countries into GEO. To that end, several specific objectives of the project are defined as follows:

  • To identify status, potentials and needs of existing EO data providers and end-users in the wider Balkan region;
  • To identify, analyse and integrate results of previous European, regional and national efforts in the field of EO;
  • To perform a broad and comprehensive analysis of gaps and complementarities of pertinent actors, institutions and initiatives within the region, with the emphasis on isolating end-user needs in the context which is specific to the Balkan region;
  • To design a comprehensive strategy for full inclusion of Balkan countries into GEO, including a plan for EO capacity building in the region;
  • To disseminate the acquired knowledge and experience to the entire EO-community and to raise government and public awareness;
  • To harmonize all EO players in the region and to create an open permanent stakeholders interaction platform;
  • To identify mechanisms for leveraging, development and coordination of EO capacity building initiatives in the region;
  • To help Balkan countries to more effectively comply with the INSPIRE directive (e.g. Annex II, Landcover) and to be integrated into SEIS.

The consortium has been carefully constituted to include key players both from EO-data provider and EO-data user communities, from all Balkan countries. Participants from other EU countries are also included to allow straightforward identification of mechanisms for leveraging, developing and coordinating EO capacity building initiatives in the region, and to ensure that the Project outcomes will be in line with the currently designed Shared Environmental Information System and with Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe.
Main outcomes of the Project will be the creation of a permanent web-based networking facility, and the design of roadmaps and recommendations for an active, coordinated and sustained participation of all Balkan countries in global EO initiatives. These outcomes will also present a contribution to GEO task CB-09-03 „Building Institutional Capacity to Use EO” and specifically to subtask CB-09-03b „Establishing Regional Capacity Building Networks”.

Since BioSense Center (within FTS) is coordinator of this project, main tasks are related to the management, like:

  • To ensure co-ordination and management of all activities within the Project.
  • To manage the overall legal, financial, administrative and ethical aspects of the Project.
  • To resolve possible problems and conflicts regarding the execution of the work plan.
  • To oversee the promotion of gender equality in the Project and respect of all ethical issues.

Also, BioSense Center is responsible for:

  • Identification of existing EO data providers and users.
  • Determination of status, potentials and needs of identified EO players.
  • Presenting survey in form suitable for analysis.
  • Providing inputs for Permanent Networking Facility (PNF) (which is supposed to be developed).

Beside these tasks, BioSense Center is highly involved in all the other activities within the project, such are Preparing methodology and standards for integrating outcomes of previous EU and regional initiatives; Analysis of Gaps, Complementarities and Prospective Contribution to GEO; Scenario Development, Roadmap and Recommendations and Dissemination.

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