The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Initiative is the European Programme to establish European capacity for Earth Observation. GMES was developed by the European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA) to provide sustainable, reliable and timely services to the public and public policy makers related to environmental and security issues.
GMES & Africa was launched in Lisbon, Portugal on December 7 2007 during the 2nd EU - Africa Summit. This was responding to the Maputo Declaration signed in October 2006 calling for an extension of the European GMES initiative to ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries.
The "GMES & Africa" initiative aims to set-up an overall framework in Africa for Earth Observation (EO) applications through a long term partnership between African and European stakeholders. The goal is to support national and regional policies in key areas including climate change, environment and disaster risk management, food security and natural resources through systematic exploitation of Earth Observation data, technologies and services. It is one of the two space-focused priority projects for Africa identified in the Book of Lighthouse Projects.
The Second Action Plan for the period 2011 - 2013 of the 8th Africa-EU Strategic Partnership (Science, Information Society, Space) has identified a number of priority areas for public sector, private sector and research community collaboration between Africa and Europe to complement investments in ICT infrastructure deployment by exploiting synergies between the EU 2020 Digital Agenda and the African Union (AU) ICT development frameworks.
One of the priority areas identified for Space is to finalise, expedite and implement the Baseline Draft 0 Action Plan on GMES and Africa , taking into consideration ongoing deliberations and guidance on the process since it was initiated in 2007.
The current draft of the GMES and Africa Action Plan addresses 9 thematic areas as well as 5 cross cutting issues.
The 9 Thematic Areas identified are:
- Long-Term Management of Natural Resources (forest resources, biodiversity, land resources, land cover change, protected area management)
- Marine and Coastal Areas (fisheries, integrated coastal zone management, transport, etc.)
- Water Resources Management (integrated basin management, ground water, water scarcity)
- Impacts of Climate Variability Change (desertification, droughts, water scarcity, health)
- Natural Disasters (risk reduction with regard to floods, fires, cyclones, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes etc.)
- Food Security and Rural Development (crop monitoring, rangeland monitoring, vulnerability assessment, locusts, water )
- Infrastructures and Territorial Development (land planning, urban sprawl, road and water infrastructure, ecological footprint)
- Conflicts and Political Crisis (disputed territory, vulnerable settlements, conflict resources, land mines)
- Health Management Issues
The 5 Cross Cutting Issues identified are:
- Policy and Institutional
- Capacity Building
- Monitoring and Evaluation