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Home  > International Relations  > News  > Space for Development: The Case of the GMES Initiative and Africa Conference

Space for Development: The Case of the GMES Initiative and Africa Conference

 - 06/12/2007

Logotipo da Presidência da UE - Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino SuperiorIn the scope of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union and to mark the EU - Africa Summit of 7th – 9th December, the Space for Development: The Case of GMES and Africa conference is being held on 6th – 7th December 2007 at the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon. The conference is being jointly organised by Portugal’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education together with the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission and the GMES – Global Monitoring for Environment and Security initiative.

GMES – Global Monitoring for Environment and Security is an initiative of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA), which is designed to collect and provide reliable and up-to-date data on the state of the environment and environmental monitoring with a view to its preservation and preventing risk situations (e.g. floods, forest fires and water pollution).

The core topic on the conference agenda is extending the GMES initiative to Africa, and its ties to the Lisbon Strategy.

The conference shall include the signature of the Lisbon Declaration on the GMES – Africa Initiative, which aims to use European space capabilities to help the African continent and European Union – Africa cooperation develop. The declaration will be signed by the following entities: the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union, the European Commission, the African Union Commission, the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP), the European Space Agency (ESA), EUMETSAT – European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, ECOWAS – Economic Community Of West African States, IGAD – InterGovernmental Authority on Development, CEMAC – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, SADC – Southern African Development Community and the IOC – Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, together with the German, Slovenian, French and Czech Presidencies of the Council of the European Union.

GMES will provide African countries with more and improved information, and consequently better support for sustainable development with regard to harvest security, management of natural resources, desertification and climate change, conflict prevention and humanitarian aid, among others.

The Portuguese Presidency of the EU believes that developing GMES services for and adapting them to Africa will provide the impetus for developing capacities (institutional, human and technical) in accordance with African needs.

Extending GMES services to Africa is part of the recent European Space Policy (ESP), in which regard the Competitiveness Council of the EU approved the Resolution on the European Space Policy on 22.05.2007, following the Commission’s Communication "European Space Policy" of 26.04.2007.

The international relations strategy outlined in the ESP involves harnessing the potential of space systems and applying them to sustainable development in developing countries, namely in African countries.

GMES is Europe’s main contribution to the GEOSS – Global Earth Observation Systems of Systems, which aims to create a global coordinated and sustainable Earth observation system that will enable ongoing monitoring of the planet and the changes affecting it in particular.

Last updated ( 03/10/2011 )