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MESA celebrates Earth Observation Day

Feb 19, 2016, 11:09 AM | Article By: Abdou Rahman Sallah

The steering and working committees of Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA), under the Ministry of Fisheries in collaboration with the media on 15 February celebrated Earth Observation Day in grand style.

The event was characterized by a march-past and speeches from the July 22nd Square to Arch 22 in Banjul led by the Gambia Police Band signifying the importance of the day.

Abdoulie T.B. Jarra, Permanent Secretary of the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Water, Wildlife and Fisheries, in delivering a statement on behalf of his Minister Pa Ousman Jarju, said MESA is a 3-year ECOWAS project launched in December 2014 in The Gambia.

He said their aim is to increase information management, decision making and planning capacity of the African continent among regional and national institutions mandated for environment, climate change, food security and related responsibilities by enhancing access to and exploitation of relevant earth observation applications in Africa.

He added that MESA is AU-EU funded project that builds on results of previous projects such as the preparation for the use of meteo-sat second generation in Africa-PUMA project 2001-2005 and the African monitoring of environment for the sustainable development (AMESD) programme 200-2013.

This is being achieved by enhancing access to reliable, timely and accurate land, marine and climate data and information for Africa, he said.

“MESA is exploiting Earth Observation (EO) data and technologies to promote socio-economic progress towards achieving sustainable development goals,” he added.

He said further: “The purpose of today’s Earth Observation Day celebration is to strengthening policy development framework of participating member states by sensitizing fisheries managers and other stakeholders on the objectives of the MESA project and encouraging them to utilize the products and services in their national policy development framework.

“As you all know the fisheries sector is presently threatened due to the impacts of climate change, poor management practices and over-increasing challenges from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU fishing) by some artisanal and industrial fisheries sectors actors, thereby contributing to over exploitation of fisheries and other marine resources.”

The consequences of IUU fishing are the scarcity of fisheries resources, lack of fish products in the markets and above all food insecurity, he said, adding that these are important economic losses and irreversible threats of destruction on our marine fisheries resources.

He emphasized the need to strengthen the fisheries surveillance unit in collaboration with the Gambia navy.

Concluding he thanked all for observing the EO day, bearing in mind that, “there is a great need to protect the planet we all live in through best practices and informed human actions and public policy choices”.