Dear Colleagues,

The Declaration adopted by the G8 leaders at last July's Hokkaido Toyako Summit stated: "To respond to the growing demand for Earth observation data, we will accelerate efforts within the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), which builds on the work of UN specialized agencies and programs, in priority areas, inter alia, climate change and water resources management, by strengthening observation, prediction and data sharing".

The GEO community is already working to accelerate the construction of GEOSS. As we enter the next phase of GEOSS implementation under a new work plan, we are focusing on strengthening the cross-cutting nature of GEOSS, building a common infrastructure for data sharing, and developing an important set of data-sharing principles.

An operational GEOSS is extremely important for the Asia-Pacific region, which is considered particularly vulnerable to climate change. Strengthening national policies and activities for monitoring, predicting and adapting to climate change is a shared concern for all of the region's governments. At the same time, large-scale disasters such as this year's Sichuan earthquakes and Myanmar cyclone have added a further reminder of the need to anticipate and respond to natural disasters.

Recognizing these concerns, the 3rd GEOSS Asia-Pacific Symposium will explore how to strengthen collaboration on improving observation, prediction and data sharing in the fields of climate change, water resource management, ecosystem maintenance, and disasters under the theme of "Cross-cutting data sharing in the Asia-Pacific Region".

The Symposium will take place at the Kyoto Research Park, Kyoto, Japan from 4 to 6 February 2009. The latest agenda and details on registration, hotels and related matters will shortly be available on the symposium website.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the symposium office in Japan at:
tel: +81-3-5561-4528, fax: +81-3-5574-8515

We are looking forward to seeing you in Kyoto.



José Achache
Secretariat Director
Group on Earth Observations