GMES and Africa project launched in The Gambia

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) and Africa project, which was launched in Lisbon, Portugal, in December 2007 during the 2nd EU-Africa Summit was Wednesday launched in The Gambia at the Ministry of Fisheries in Banjul.

The project is an initiative of the European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA), developed to provide sustainable, reliable and timely services related to environmental and security issues in order to support the needs of users and public policymakers.

It is funded by the European Union through African Union to combat illegal fishing in Africa and its sub-regions. It also focus on environment and security. It is a long-term and strategic cooperation framework meant to address the growing needs of Africa policymakers, scientists and businesses to access and use Earth Observation (EO) data or the implementation of socio-economic and environmental policies on the continent.

The initiative is also grounded on the Africa Space Policy and Strategy, under the AU Agenda 2063 framework, focusing on creating a well-coordinated and integrated African Space Programme and a regulatory environment that promote and support an African agenda.

The project targets to promote African development of local capacities, institutional, human and technical resources for access to and exploitation of EO-based services on operational basis for sustainable development.

It also aims to promote more sustainable management of natural resources by improving decision-making through the use of EO data.

“This project will help us in the management and development of our fisheries sector and also strengthen our work in combating illegal and unregulated fishing in the country,” permanent secretary at the ministry of fisheries, Bamba Banja said at the launch of the project.

He said the project is in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) to strengthen institutional and capacity development.

Gabin Agblonon, project manager of Wetlands International Africa said in his presentation that GMES and Africa is the first leg of the Earth Observation (EO) segment of the African space policy and strategy adopted in 2016 by African heads of states and government.

He said the project targets governmental technical skills, fisheries ministries, coastal management and maritime transport, safety and security as well as environment protection agencies.

Presenting on capacity strengthening to implement activities at regional and national levels for effectively EO services utilisation, Amadou Jallow said there is need for awareness creation in EO services by improving communication on societal benefits of EO applications for managing the coastal marine environment and its resources.

Author: Fatou Dem