EXPANDEO 2023 Press Release

Brussels, 15 June 2023

EXPANDEO 2023 Wrap-Up, Leaving a Lasting Impact on the Earth Observation Community

Watch here the recordings of EXPANDEO 2023.

Key stakeholders came together for two days of insightful discussions at EXPANDEO 2023, held in Brussels and online from the 13th to the 14th of June 2023. This annual event served as a platform for representatives from the European Earth Observation (EO) Downstream industry, user communities,  and institutional actors to explore the ‘now and tomorrow’ of EO in Europe.

EXPANDEO 2023 attracted an unprecedented number of participants. We had the pleasure of hosting 485 online and 177 in-person attendees, and were honored to welcome 64 esteemed speakers for this edition.  This engagement truly exemplifies the strength and growth of our community.

During the event, attendees delved into a wide range of cross-cutting topics, including research and development trends, policy, capacity building, market development, and skills enabling the EO sector. 

After the opening remarks by Emmanuel Pajot, Secretary General of EARSC, the morning session began with Guillaume de la Brosse, Head of Unit Innovation, Start-ups and Economics at DG DEFIS, European Commission, delivering a captivating keynote speech on the policies driving innovation at the EU and international level. These enlightening talks were the prelude for Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, the chair of the EARSC Green Deal working group who elaborated on the main group objectives to raise awareness on the use of EO satellite data and services to tackle climate change.

Following this speech, we went through three panel discussions to discuss Earth Observation as an operational solution that can be used for:

  • Carbon reduction and carbon practices: the session emphasized  the use of satellite-derived data to enhance existing datasets, the role of certification and accreditation bodies and the issues ahead with the harmonization of the data, the challenges of the farmers and forestry owners with the new regulation and the need of established methodologies to implement it.
  • Methane monitoring: EO as part of the datasets for a strong Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) framework and the importance of integrating innovative solutions into policy.  
  • Forest monitoring: EO data and services to support objectivity and transparency to the measurements allowing the monitoring of key forest performance indicators. 

Giuseppe Ottavianelli from ESA wrapped up with an inspiring talk about how the Green Deal represents an ambitious vision to transform Europe into the world’s first climate-neutral continent with a note speech about “Unlocking the Full Potential of EO in Green Deal”. 

In the afternoon, Tomasz Husak, from DG INTPA, opened with a keynote the discussion on partnerships, highlighting the significance of strengthening collaborations and the alignment of the Green Deal and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in achieving sustainable development.

The dedicated session on “Partnerships Addressing Environmental & Social Challenges” introduced the role which international organizations play in promoting the use of EO data and services for assessing progress towards sustainable development. 

The session discussing the “Sustainable development frameworks” highlighted how Earth Observation plays a crucial role in assessing progress towards sustainable development by leveraging satellite imagery and data to monitor environmental indicators, track changes in land use, measure biodiversity, and evaluate the impact of human activities on ecosystems, enabling informed decision-making and targeted interventions for a more sustainable future.

Then Ingrid Vanden Berghe from the National Geographic Institute in Belgium complemented and closed with a UN perspective emphasizing that geospatial information provides a sound basis for understanding what is happening when, where, and why.

The session on skills development was transversal to the discussions we had during the whole day, where it has been identified the role of Earth Observation in supporting evidence-based decision-making. Skills are critical for successfully transitioning to a greener economy aligned with the goals of the Green Deal.

The day concluded with a special edition of EOcafe, where Dušan Chrenek, Principal Adviser Digital for the Green Transition at DG CLIMA, European Commission, and Geoff Sawyer, Strategic Advisor at EARSC, discussed how digital technologies support the green transition and climate change adaptation. 

One of the highlights of EXPANDEO 2023 was the announcement of the winners of the EARSC 2023 Awards ceremony which was a great occasion for the community to network and establish new relationships with peers.  We congratulate the outstanding achievements of:   CloudFerro, winner of the EARSC Company Award;   e-geos (Hyperspectral Fire Hazard Map), winner of the EARSC Product Award and    Constellr winner of the EARSC Start-Up Award.

These remarkable companies have showcased excellence and innovation in the EO sector, setting new benchmarks for the industry.

Kicking off the second day of EXPANDEO Elizabeth Hamdouche, Deputy Head of Unit for Copernicus at DG DEFIS (European Commission) delivered a keynote speech emphasizing the use of digital tools for climate agenda. She stressed the importance of the continuity of Copernicus and European initiatives such as DestinationEarth to deliver solutions to fight against climate change. 

The first session of Day 2 focused on the new initiative of the European Commission and ESA, the Copernicus Data Space Ecosystem. The new open ecosystem will provide free, public offerings for cloud computing and VHR imagery.  The main players presented during the session the main concepts of the system, data, and services capabilities, and both free and commercial services. They also provided several use cases among which the benefits for the CAP monitoring.

Then we continued with the GREAT workshop, focusing on the role of data spaces for the private sector. The session provided a platform for interaction between the private sector and the policymakers, gathering the potential risks and benefits to shape the future roadmap of the Green Deal Data Space (GDDS). 

After we moved to the session dedicated to the Green Deal implementation at the local level. Four municipalities (Milan, Helsinki, Haarlem and Ixelles) shared their challenges as end users as well as the requirements needed from EO solutions to respond to climate change adaptation in cities. 

We concluded the second day of EXPANDEO with a session on the PROTECT project, procuring innovative climate change services for public authorities. EO climate services companies pitched their solutions to respond to the needs for climate services identified by the PROTECT Community  of public authorities. 

Then, the Director of the Aerospace Technical Office (Ministry of Science and Innovation), Mr Hector Guerrero shared the upcoming Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU’s vision for space.

The EXPANDEO 2023 journey ended with a speech from EARSC Secretary General Emmanuel Pajot thanking all the speakers, partners and attendees for contributing to the success of this hybrid event. 

Overall EXPANDEO 2023 was a great opportunity to learn from experts about current key EU Policies and their implementation.  EO can be a crucial enabling tool for understanding the needs of different communities of users; supporting a strong Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) framework; recognizing the role of the different players collaborating in local, national and global partnerships; highlighting the move from institutional actors to promote anchor tenancy purchasing services from the EO service industry; and the optimal uptake of EO and modern ways to raise awareness and communication, exchange with your colleagues, connect with old friends, find new partners and build strong relationships. 

Let us seize this opportunity, collaborate, innovate, and work together to unlock the true potential of Earth Observation in achieving our ambitious climate goals. Looking forward to seeing you in EXPANDEO 2024! Clicking this link you can already save the date and add EXPANDEO2024 to your calendar. 

A heartfelt thank you to our generous sponsors: Copernicus Data Space Ecosystem, EarthDaily Agro, EUSI, AIRBUS, GREAT project, PROTECT Project, GroundStation.space, and Belspo, whose support was instrumental in making EXPANDEO 2023 a truly impactful event. 
We hope to see you next year on the 12 and 13 of June 2024. Clicking this link you can already save the date and add EXPANDEO2024 to your calendar. If you have any suggestions or feedback for the next EXPANDEO edition in 2024 you can fill in this form.

Author: EARSC

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