|July 31, 2003|
We, the participants in this Earth Observation Summit held in Washington, DC, on July 31, 2003:
Recalling the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg that called for strengthened cooperation and coordination among global observing systems and research programmes for integrated global observations;
Recalling also the outcome of the G-8 Summit held in Evian that called for strengthened international cooperation on global observation of the environment;
Noting the vital importance of the mission of organizations engaged in Earth observation activities and their contribution to national, regional and global needs;
Affirm the need for timely, quality, long-term, global information as a basis for sound decision making. In order to monitor continuously the state of the Earth, to increase understanding of dynamic Earth processes, to enhance prediction of the Earth system, and to further implement our environmental treaty obligations, we recognize the need to support:
(1) Improved coordination of strategies and systems for observations of the Earth and identification of measures to minimize data gaps, with a view to moving toward a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained Earth observation system or systems;
(2) A coordinated effort to involve and assist developing countries in improving and sustaining their contributions to observing systems, as well as their access to and effective utilization of observations, data and products, and the related technologies by addressing capacity-building needs related to Earth observations;
(3) The exchange of observations recorded from in situ, aircraft, and satellite networks, dedicated to the purposes of this Declaration, in a full and open manner with minimum time delay and minimum cost, recognizing relevant international instruments and national policies and legislation; and
(4) Preparation of a 10-year Implementation Plan, building on existing systems and initiatives, with the Framework being available by the Tokyo ministerial conference on Earth observations to be held during the second quarter of 2004, and the Plan being available by the ministerial conference to be hosted by the European Union during the fourth quarter of 2004.
To effect these objectives, we establish an ad hoc Group on Earth Observations and commission the group to proceed, taking into account the existing activities aimed at developing a global observing strategy in addressing the above. We invite other governments to join us in this initiative. We also invite the governing bodies of international and regional organizations sponsoring existing Earth observing systems to endorse and support our action, and to facilitate participation of their experts in implementing this Declaration.