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Working Groups

The Working Groups are responsible for implementing specific activities in support of the GEO LDN Initiative’s main objectives. The Working Groups are led by the GEO LDN co-chairs and additional co-leads. Membership in the working groups is open to all GEO members, participating organizations, and other stakeholders. Three Working Groups have been established on:

• WG1: Capacity Development
• WG2: Data Quality Standards
• WG3: Data Analytics

If you would like to join one of the GEO-LDN working groups, please contact one of the GEO-LDN co-chairs. You can also find more ways to get involved here.

Working Group 1 (Capacity Development)





Amos Kabo-Bah

University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR)


Timothy Dube

University of the Western Cape (UWC)

South Africa

Mercy Ojoyi

African Forest Forum (AFF) at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)


Patrice Sanou

Institut Supérieur d’Etudes Spatiales et des Télécommunications (ISESTEL)

Burkina Faso

Key Tasks and Objectives
The aim of Working Group 1 (WG1) is to develop an innovative capacity building mechanism that provides answers to SDG 15.3 while addressing the needs of various stakeholders at regional, national and individual levels.

The outputs of WG2 and WG3, together with other reporting requirements and/or decision-making supporting tools, will be the input for the development of the capacity-building interventions. Rather than developing the content of the capacity-building interventions, WG 1 will explore and promote mechanisms to support, effectively and innovatively, the strengthening of the required capacities on the three intervention levels.

As of May 2022, the LDN postgraduate programmes, hosted at the University of Energy and Natural Resources, have been submitted to Ghana’s Tertiary Education Commission for accreditation, kickstarting the last formal process of the programmes’ realisation.

In the weekend preceding the 2022 GEO Week, a training on LDN, LUP4LDN, and Trends.Earth was organised in Ghana with land use planners from the region.

Next Steps
Key objectives for WG1 are related to the postgraduate programmes, the virtual massive open online courses (MOOCs), and stakeholder engagement activities. Postgraduate programmes – key activities and outputs include:

• Mobilisation of key partners and the development of a programme brand identity
• Development of and budgeting for scholarship programme for students

MOOCs – key activities and outputs: Creation of a capacity development strategy for the MOOCs (GEO-LDN Secretariat)

• Development of an e-learning course on the use of land cover data for monitoring progress towards SDG 15

Stakeholder engagement – key activities and outputs:

Scenarios for Integrated Land Use Planning (S4ILUP) workshops
• Digital training (webinars): providing training opportunities to 500 people in the use of geospatial analysis tools for planning, monitoring, and decision-making processes
• Dialogue/Open Forums

Working Group 2 (Data Quality Standards)





Ingrid Teich


World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) / Center for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern


Nils Hempelmann

Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)


Key Tasks and Objectives
The main task of Working Group 2 (WG2) is to develop minimum data quality standards to facilitate interoperability between different tools and databases for LDN assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting. The objective is to ensure consistency, coherence and comparability of data sets supplied by various data providers in support of country efforts to monitor SDG 15.3.1 and its sub-indicators.

In 2020, WG2 developed minimum data quality standards and decision trees for SDG indicators 15.3.1 through a consultation process which involved over 30 data providers/experts and 100 data users. This consultation resulted in a technical document titled: “Minimum data quality standards and decision trees for SDG Indicator 15.3.1: Proportion of land that is degraded over total land area (Technical Note).”

In 2021, these outputs were integrated in the Good Practice Guidance on SDG indicator 15.3.1 (Version 2), contributing to the enhancement of Trends.Earth by Conservation International.

This work was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Next Steps

• Development of standards for interoperability of tools and application of data quality standards and decision trees to specific geographies
• Call for long time series high-resolution datasets

Working Group 3 (Data Analytics)





Neil Sims

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)


Alex Zvoleff

Conservation International (CI)



Key Tasks and Objectives
Working Group 3 (WG3) is working towards establishing a federated collaborative data analytics platform to assist countries to calculate SDG Indicator 15.3.1 and assess their progress towards LDN. WG3 will support the development and implementation of big data analytics tools, consistent with the relevant standards identified by WG2, to enable countries to easily access, analyze and interpret large Earth Observation (EO) datasets in globally consistent ways, while also facilitating national data sovereignty.

In 2020-21, the GEO-LDN competition produced the Land Use Planning for LDN (LUP4LDN) tool, developed by SCiO in consultation with land use planning experts.

Next Steps
• Development of a concept for the LDN Toolbox and associated workflow, hosted on GEO-LDN website
• Filling gaps concerning the issue of carbon stocks above and below ground measurement
• Provision of data analytics outputs of WG3 as knowledge packages, for instance to the GEO Knowledge Hub (GKH)