Balkan GEO Network – Towards Inclusion of Balkan Countries
Into Global Earth Observation Initiatives (BalkanGEONet)
A new project was recently initiated by the European Commission to stimulate the broader participation of the Balkan Countries in GEOSS activities. The project is coordinated by Prof. Vladimir Crnojevic of the University of Novi Sad, Serbia.
Several! Balkan Countries such as Croatia, Greece, Romania! and Slovenia are already members of GEO. These countries are currently performing a number of activities within the GEO work plan and other activities called out in the GEOSS 10 year Implementation Plan. However, the broader inclusion of all Balkan countries is of great importance since only a comprehensive regional EO framework can achieve the GEO objective s of comprehensive understanding and improved utilization of resources in a sustainable manner leading to increased quality of life and stronger economic development.
The BalkanGEONet project brings together EO data users, research and governmental institutions, SMEs and international organizations as well as a number of world leading experts in the field of EO. This broad range of participation is needed to address many of the challenges occurring in the Balkan region. Besides the different cultural backgrounds and attitudes toward the environment, natural resources and the functioning of governments, the economies of the region are quite disparate – where the average GDP per capita in Slovenia is $30,000US, while that in Bosnia and Albania is $6000US. Thus the willingness to directly invest in science verses housing and social welfare projects differs according to country in the region. BalkanGEONet will work throughout the regions to reinforce the access to and understanding of the benefits of Earth Observation for societal decisions.
Marko Delimar of IEEE is participating on the Advisory Board of the project.