The GEO Plenary

The GEO Plenary is the main body of designated representatives of the Members and Participating Organizations of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), with Members holding decision-making authority.  It is the GEO’s primary decision-making body.  The GEO Plenary meets at least once annually.

The History of GEO

GEO was formally established at the Third Earth Observation Summit in February 2005 to carry out the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan.  Prior to its formal establishment, the Ad Hoc GEO (established at the First Earth Observation Summit in July 2003) met as a planning body to develop the 10-Year Plan.

The GEO Executive Committee

The Executive Committee oversees GEO’s activities when the Plenary is not in session. The Committee consists of 16 representatives nominated by the five GEO regional caucuses, including four each from Asia/Oceania and Europe, three each from the Americas and Africa, and two from the Commonwealth of Independent States. Three Participating Organizations from the Programme Board act as observers to the Executive Committee. The Committee is also responsible for guiding the Secretariat.

The 16 Committee members for 2023 are:


  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • South Africa *


  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • United States *


  • Australia
  • China *
  • Japan
  • Korea, Republic of

Commonwealth of Independent States

  • Armenia
  • Russian Federation


  • European Commission *
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy

* Co-chairs


The GEO Members elect four Members to serve as Co-Chairs. They preside over both the Plenary and the Executive Committee. The current Co-Chairs are represented by the following individuals:

  • Mmboneni Muofhe, Deputy Director General, Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) (South Africa)
  • Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General, European Commission (European Commission)
  • Guangjun Zhang, Vice Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology (China)
  • Richard Spinrad, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, Department of Commerce (United States)

The Three Programme Board POs acting as Observers to the Executive Committee for 2024 are: .

Working Groups

The GEO Plenary establishes Working Groups to address aspects of GEOSS implementation and provide a mechanism for members of the GEO community to engage full in the work of GEO. Working groups provide high-level review, advice, recommendations and support in the ongoing development and implementation of the GEO 2016-2025 Strategic Plan: implementing GEOSS. Working groups also actively promote the implementation of GEOSS activities described in the annual Work Plan. Current Working Groups include:

For more information about becoming a member of a Working Group, please contact the GEO Secretariat at

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