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

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The Balkans embrace Earth Observation

A thorough study of existing Earth Observation (EO) facilities in the Balkan states will enable the region to coordinate efforts and create a more efficient infrastructure for the network.

Climate Change and Environment

EO technology has proven crucial in many fields such as agriculture, security, environment and climate change impacts. Europe's Balkan region possesses significant potential in human and technological resources related to EO, but there are no official strategies to coordinate and advance fragmented EO efforts regionally. To address this issue, the EU-funded project 'Balkan GEO Network - Towards inclusion of Balkan countries into global Earth observation initiatives' (Balkangeonet) has begun promoting EO efforts at the governmental level. It raised awareness of key staff in government institutions and conducted related training for EO data users and providers in each Balkan country to achieve this goal. This has been enhanced through a revamped project website and the publication of additional promotional material. Apart from the country training sessions already undertaken, the project conducted a workshop in Croatia involving government representatives hailing from different Balkan states. Currently, the project is assessing opportunities for different countries within the EU's Group on Earth Observation (GEO) initiative and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). It is preparing Balkan countries that are still not GEO members for full membership, in addition to developing roadmaps for stronger participation in the GEO and GEOSS. After identifying existing EO data providers, Balkangeonet effectively analysed gaps and complementarities of implicated actors and institutions to isolate end-user needs. It also drew on the findings of previous national and regional initiatives to consolidate and disseminate valuable recommendations and best practices in order to further EO across the Balkan region. As it continues to develop EO in the Balkans, the project will empower researchers, policymakers and governments to exploit EO networks and support research in a multitude of pivotal topics.

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