10 December 2007. ESPI was invited to participate in the Conference “GMES-Africa. Space for development: the case of GMES and Africa” organised by the Portuguese European Union Council Presidency.
In the framework of focussing on Africa, the Portuguese EU Council Presidency hosted a number of events from 6 to 9 December 2007. Dedicated activities to space also took place with the aim to generally deepen the dialogue with African users and between the African and European policy makers for the identification and integration of their requirements for the provision of GMES services to the African continent They also aimed at leveraging on existing relevant initiatives and projects for strengthening and building Earth Observation capacities in Africa and at establishing a long term partnership among European and African stakeholders.
The European Commission, ESA, Eumetsat and JRC joined hands in organising two workshops on “Crisis Response and Monitoring for Security”, and on “Environment and Agriculture”, both held on 6 December 2007. Two documents were adopted: the “Lisbon Declaration on GMES and Africa” and the “Lisbon Process on GMES and Africa”. The global framework of this exercise is the Joint Africa EU Strategy and first Action Plan (2008-2010) which where adopted by the EU-Africa summit held on 8-9 December 2007.
Pierre-Henri Pisani, ESPI Senior Research Fellow
ESPI’s senior research fellow Pierre-Henri Pisani had been asked to be rapporteur of the “Long term partnership for GMES Africa” session which was chaired by João Sentieiro, President of the Foundation for Science and Technology on behalf of the Portuguese EU Council Presidency and Lluis Riera, Director, DG Development in the European Commission. Among the prominent speakers were: José Albano Lourenço Júnior, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transports and Communication of Mozambique; Bernard Zoba,Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Commission of the African Union;Volker Liebig, Director for Earth Observation Programmes, European Space Agency; John Kaputin, ACP Secretariat; Monique Andreas Esoavelomandroso, Secretary General, Indian Ocean Commission; Paul Counet, Head of Strategy and International Cooperation Unit, EUMETSAT; Ousseini Salifou, Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water, Economic Commission of West African States.
The main highlights of the Conference were to secure the commitment and full involvement of the relevant African and European stakeholders and user communities in extending, as spelt out in the Maputo declaration of 2006, GMES to the African continent. The actions to be undertaken include the conduct of a mapping exercise to identify past and current activities, infrastructure, capacities and programmes on which “GMES and Africa” can build on. It also comprised the identification of the necessary elements to provide GMES services to Africa and of a strategy to implement them together with the prioritization of requirements and actions, funding schemes and a timetable for implementation.