Human Planet Forum

Call for the first meeting of the geo human planet initiative

Hosted by the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation of the University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
12-15 September 2017

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a voluntary partnership of governments and organizations that envisions “a future wherein decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations and information[i]”.

The Human Planet is a new initiative in the GEO 2017-2019 work programme supporting the GEO Strategic Plan 2016-2025.  The Human Planet aims to support novel evidence-based assessment of the human presence on the planet Earth. The Human Planet leverages on advances of Earth Observation technologies and geo-spatial data analytics for improving the global awareness on the spatial patterns and processes of the today’s urbanizing world[ii].  New open, inclusive and consistent data are needed for assessing humanity’s impact on the planet, access to resources, and exposure to risk. New knowledge is needed in order to translate these new data into actionable information to support decision making by governments, organizations and individuals.

Data scientists, decision makers, and professionals compose the Human Planet partnership. As of February 2016, the partner contributors list includes more than 150 individuals belonging to 85 different organizations including academies, international stakeholders, governmental bodies and private firms.  The partners of the Human Planet are committed to develop a new generation of measurements and information products that provide new scientific evidence and a comprehensive understanding of the human presence on the Planet in support of global policy processes with agreed, actionable and goal-driven metrics. The Human Planet initiative aims to support the post-2015 international frameworks: the UN Third Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III, 2016) , the post-2015 Framework on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the UNISDR’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 . Post-2015 international frameworks are accompanied by targets that are further elaborated and monitored through indicators that focus on measurable outcomes. These indicators are action oriented, global in nature and universally applicable. The Human Planet initiative operates in an open and free data access policy, with the mission to maximize the access to data and statistics to ensure that no one is left behind and  that the information gaps are filled.

The Human Planet partnership supports the production of the “Atlas of the Human Planet”, a yearly periodic release of the main findings collected and discussed within the partnership and presented in international forums dedicated to the monitoring of post-2015 frameworks. The Atlas of the Human Planet 2016 was launched at the Habitat III conference (Quito Ecuador, 2016)[iii]. The edition 2017 of the Atlas will be presented at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (Cancun Mexico 2017). The 2018 edition of the Atlas will be presented at the World Urban Forum 9 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).

The 2017 Human Planet Forum has three main objectives: 

  • to showcase the work done so far,
  • to seek additional support and enlarge the partnership, and 
  • to consolidate the governance and the future action plan of the partnership.

The forum is open to established and potential partners interested to engage with the GEO Human Planet.