The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa) Support Programme is the result of the long standing cooperation between Africa and Europe in the area of space science & technology, which is one of the key priorities of the long-term EU-Africa Joint Strategy. The GMES & Africa Support Programme is administered by the African Union Commission through the Human Resource, Science and Technology (HRST) Commission.
The pan-African programme aims at improving the capacity of African policy-makers, planners, scientists, businessmen and private citizens to design, implement, and monitor national, regional and continental policies, and to promote sustainable management of natural resources through the use of earth observation data and derived information.
GMES & Africa is currently being implemented in at least 45 African countries including Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The programme also involves 6 European countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, and United Kingdom), and has a compass of 122 institutions across Africa.
The first phase of GMES and Africa focuses on the African continent’s water & natural resources, as well as its marine and coastal areas. The programme is implemented through a competitive Call process which awards grants to consortia of institutions in the various regions of Africa, operating projects that deal with water and natural resources. The program covers every region in Africa including Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa and the Western Indian Ocean.
The short-term and long-term objectives of GMES and Africa are being actualized through the operation and functionality of various agencies across the continent. Since these agencies confront challenges in functioning alone to achieve the goals of GMES and Africa, they collaborate to form strong partnerships known as consortia. Within each consortium are agencies working on similar or related themes and each region has at least two consortia.
There is a consortium of partner agencies that covers the East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region. This consortium is led by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), and also includes the Kenyan Wildfire Service, Tanzania Forest Service Agency, Sudan’s Ministry of Animal Resources and Makerere University. The consortium provides opportunities for research, higher education and training, having already sponsored two master’s degree students undergoing relevant programmes in natural resource management and trained sixty persons at the national level.
Another East African consortium, based in Kenya, operates to aid communities and individuals dealing with natural resources management at all levels, farmers, nomadic pastoralists and rural communities, civil services, local authorities, city councils, parks and natural reserves administrations. This consortium also expects to help inform and equip ministries and institutions with tools that combat land degradation, thereby addressing a major problem confronting some populations. It is led by the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), and it comprises the Ethiopian Mapping Agency, Makerere University, Mauritius’ Ministry of Lands, and Rwanda’s Water and Forestry Authority.
One of the aims of GMES and Africa Central African consortia is to facilitate the production of relevant baseline data and indicators, organizing and disseminating data as well as products and services, extending and appropriating products and services , and training and capacity building in the use of earth observation data. One of these consortia is led by Gabonaise d’Etudes et d’Observations Spatiales (AGEOS), which is the national space agency of Gabon, and it also comprises Commission des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale (COMIFAC) of Cameroon, Office Burundais pour la Protection de l’Environnement, Institut National pour l’Environnement et la Conservation de la Nature (INCOMA) of Equatorial Guinea., and Université de Moundou of Chad.
There is yet another GMES and Africa consortium in Central Africa, which tackles water resource management by delivering user customised information on navigation, meteorological, hydrological, hydropower and drinking water production, agro-pastoral services, forest management and protected areas, among others. It provides tailor-made solutions through the consolidation and improvement of existing observation systems, including in-situ and satellite data gathering systems, and by estimating real (or near real) time watershed levels and water availability. This consortium is led by the Commission Internationale du Bassin Congo-Oubangui-Sangha (CICOS), based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the other partners that make up the consortium include Groupement d’Interet Economique pour le Service Commun d’Entretien des Voies Navigables du Congo et de la République Centrafricaine, Université de Kinshasa, Observatoire Satellite des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale, Commission du Bassin de Lac Tchad, and Centre de Recherche Hydrologiques of Cameroon.
One of GMES and Africa’s two consortia in North Africa provides information extracted from earth observation to decision makers and synthesizes reports, graphs, and thematic analysis. It also formulates technical reports and capacity building modules. The Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel (OSS) leads this consortium, which also includes Centre Régional Africain des Sciences et technologies de l ‘Espace en Langue Française, Centre Regional de Teledetection des Etats d’Afrique du Nord; Agence Spatiale Algerienne, Centre National de la Cartographie de la Télédétection; Centre Royal de Teledetection Spatiale, Desert Research Centre; Libyan Centre for Remote Sensing and Space Science, and Unite de Recherche de Mauritanie.
The Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) consortium, which covers river basins of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, aims to achieve include a Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Platform for Trans-boundary Basins in the southern African region that could deliver data, maps, information, and statistics. The platform will also indicate trends on wetland mapping of floodplains, swamps, marshes, and other surface water bodies, and equally provide information on water cycle regimes, vegetation dynamics and productivity. As part of its mandate to contribute to relevant research, training and information sharing, the consortium seeks to support gender-balanced postgraduate studentships and public awareness campaigns. Its institutional members include: University of Botswana, South African National Space Agency, South Africa
National Remote Sensing Centre, Midlands State University, University of Zambia and University of Western Cape.
West Africa is host to three GMES and Africa consortia, one of them covering eight countries, including Burkina-Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal. It is headed by the Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE) of Senegal, whose partners are: Centre d’Observation, de Surveillance et d’Information Environnementales; Centre de Télédétection et de Service d’Information Géographique; Centre Universitaire de Recherche et d’Application en Télédétection, Département des Parcs et de la Gestion de la Faune; Direction de la Faune, de la Chasse et des Aires Protégées, and Direction National des Eaux des Forêts Institut Géographique du Burkina.
A Southern African consortium of GMES and Africa functions with the ultimate aim to have other programmes and projects use the data derived from GMES and Africa, and ensure that thirty-five EUMETCAST Stations (PUMA 2015, MESA and wildfire stations) in the participating countries are operational at the end of the GMES and Africa initiative. It further aims to have universities develop courses or curricula based on EO applications, and engage and commit policy makers, administrators, the private sector, scientists and civil society at all levels in the GMES & Africa initiative. The Southern African Development Community-Climate Services Centre (SADC-CSC) is the lead institution of this consortium, which also comprises Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources; University of Zimbabwe, South African National Space Agency, and the National Remote Sensing Centre of Zambia.
The other GMES and Africa consortium in West Africa is led by the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education (CSSTE), which is based in Nigeria. Other institutions that make up this consortium include: Centre Universitaire de Recherche et d’Application en Télédétection, Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Côte d Ivoire; Institut Supérieur d’ Etudes Spatiales et Télécommunications of Burkina Faso, Institut National de l’ Eau du Bénin; University of Ghana’s Department of Earth Science, Volta Basin Authority; and Water Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of Ghana.
There is a GMES and Africa consortium serving both Southern and Eastern Africa, and it covers the Benguela Current Large Marine as well as the Agulhas Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems. The consortium has conducted a regional fisheries service workshop with the JRC as well as regional industry and resource management stakeholders, and is providing support for delivering EUMETCAST terrestrial data feeds into the MarCoSouth Project. This consortium comprises the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Benguela Current Commission of Namibia, Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (based in Tanzania); the Institute for Marine Sciences of Tanzania, Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean; Eduardo Mondlane University of Mozambique, National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa, and the Abalobi Research Group of South Africa.
GMES and Africa also has a consortium covering the Western Indian Ocean. The consortium’s objectives include providing fishers with early warning information on the state of the ocean to protect lives at sea, as well as making data available to the scientific community and relevant stakeholders for decision making such as in cases of coral bleaching, harmful Algal Bloom and storm surges, amongst others. The partners that make up this consortium are: Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI), Tanzania Fisheries and Research Institute, Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kenya, Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines of Madagascar, Seychelles Meteorological Authority, and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association of Tanzania.
The University of Ghana in West Africa consortium deals with forecasting of physical and biological oceanographic variables, information on ocean processes that impact fishing, and safety of fishes. It has been working on solutions to provide effective analyses, daily and seasonal forecasts, as well as raise public awareness on the critical role of Earth observation in sustainable development. It is also utilising a GMES and Africa marine and coastal areas web portal deployed for West Africa. Led by the University of Ghana’s Regional Marine Centre, its other partners include: Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Centre Universitaire De Recherche d’Application en Télédétection of Côte d’Ivoire, Institut de Recherches Halieutiques et Océanologiques du Bénin, Centre for Oceanographic Research of Dakar-Thiaroye in Senegal, Ghana Meteorological Agency, National Institute for Fisheries Development of Cape Verde, and Wetlands International Africa (based in Senegal).
Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences (NARSS) leads a GMES and Africa consortium that covers 6,000 kilometres of the North African coastline. It is focused on the monitoring and forecasting of physical and biological oceanography variables, coastal vulnerability and coastal ecosystems mapping, monitoring and assessment. This consortium also comprises Centre for the Environment for the Arab Region and Europe, Inter-governmental Organisation for Arab Region and North Africa (based in Egypt), the Centre d’ Etudes et de Recherche des Télécommunications de Tunisie, Chouaib Doukkali University in Morocco, and the Resource Development and Studies at the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy of Mauritania.