4th GEO Plenary Session and 2007 Ministerial Summit
Cape Town, 28-30 November 2007


Led by POGO, Oceans United participated in the GEO-IV Summit to draw attention to the urgent need for an integrated, global system for ocean observation.

A Press Release was distributed prior to the event and interviews with national and international media were arranged. Tony Haymet, Shubha Sathyendranath, Jesse Ausabel, Jim Baker and Howard Roe gave several interviews in the run up to Cape Town, and these continued during the meeting with additional media activities organised locally by John Field.

The ocean media campaign was extremely successful, with media coverage in 7 languages across 24 countries, including:

• The ABC (Australia), BBC (UK) and CBC (Canada) Radio networks.
• Coverage in the print editions of several leading newspapers, including the Hindustan Times (India), New York Post (USA), Daily Telegraph (UK) and Globe and Mail (Canada);
• Online coverage by BBC News, NBC and MSNBC, Nature.com, Cordis News (published in Belgium by the EU), and the Sydney Morning Herald.

At the Ministerial Summit, GEO's progress over the last 2 years was assessed, data sharing principles were laid out, and the Cape Town Declaration was accepted by acclamation. Oceans were well embedded in this Declaration, together with statements on the importance of continuity and sustainability.

Prof. Howard Roe, then Chairman of POGO, delivered the following address, which was very well received:

“Mr Chairman, Ministers, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO), and our sister organisations within Ocean United, welcome the opportunity to participate in GEO and to speak today.
The oceans cover 71% of the surface of our planet and contain 97% of our available water. Oceans impact directly on every one of the nine GEO societal benefit areas and are a fundamental part of our earth system. To understand the way our world works we must observe and understand the oceans. But our existing global coverage is incomplete. These systems provide data, products and warnings on areas as diverse as climate and climate change; of El Niño and hurricanes; of tsunamis, rising sea levels and coastal flooding; on ecosystem and human health; on biodiversity, and on energy, food and other resources.
Our observing arrays need completing; but it is equally important to maintain existing and developing systems with appropriate commitments to sustain these into the future. Mr Chairman, the oceans are vital to us all – we must observe them and continue to observe them. Thank you.”

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