South Africa is enhancing a dynamic, diverse, and inclusive participation in the international Group on Earth Observations

South Africa’s leading space women, Ms Andiswa Mlisa, and Adv Lulu Makapela, have been appointed to represent South Africa in the Programme Board of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) for a period of 3 years (2022-2024). The appointment was made by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).

South Africa, under the leadership of DSI, currently serves as one of the four Co-Chairs of GEO, alongside United States, China, and European Commission, and continues to play a significant role in GEO, since being one of the founding members in 2005.


Ms Andiswa Mlisa, Managing Director, Earth Observations, SANSA


Adv Lulu Makapela, Strategic Programmes Contracts Manager, CSIR

These ladies join a leadership team of leading experts from across the globe to shape the activities of GEO and align with GEO priorities.

The role of the Programme Board is to oversee the formation and implementation of the GEO Work Programmes to ensure coherence and alignment of activities with GEO’s strategic objectives and reports to the GEO Executive Committee and Plenary.

GEO is an intergovernmental global network connecting government institutions, academic and research institutions, data providers, businesses, engineers, scientists, and experts to create innovative solutions to global challenges at a time of exponential data growth, human development and climate change that transcend national and disciplinary boundaries. Most importantly GEO strives to maximise diversity in all governance structures of GEO, including meetings and events.

Mlisa, is currently a Managing Director, Earth observations at the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and has taken numerous roles in GEO including establishing and coordinating the AfriGEO Initiative, the first regional GEO initiative, based at the GEO Secretariat and the role of Co-Chair of the Programme Board (2019-2021). Whereas Makapela, is a Strategic Programmes Contracts Manager, that also manages the South African – Group on Earth Observations (SA-GEO), a national Earth observations and space initiative within the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). She is also a long-term participant in GEO and its initiatives and has supported the GEO Co-Chair, DSI DG, Dr Phil Mjwara in 2014-2015.

Reflecting in her previous tenure as the Co-Chair of the Programme Board, Mlisa is most proud of her involvement in the GEO Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) subgroup , which developed the GEO EDI Statement and organised community consultations on these pertinent matters. She is looking forward to driving its realisation in the next tenure.

The appointment is essential and strategic to enhancing South Africa’s positioning on Earth observations and driving regional and national initiatives such as the Digital Earth Africa to be hosted and managed by the SANSA, AfriGEO initiative with the RCMRD and the SA-GEO that hosted and managed by the CSIR. We congratulate these ladies.

For more information, please contact Ms P Mashishi (NEOSS) at