Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) is among the 8 consortia implementing the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa phase 2 (GMES and Africa) that converged for the 1st Continental Service Workshop on Water and Natural Resources organized by African Union Commission (AUC) in Lusaka, Zambia from 13th-15th June 2022. The event brought together RMCRD partners, from Uganda, Kenya and Comoros, the Regional Implementing Centres, and European Technical Institutions among other stakeholders.
A group photo of GMES & Africa Programme phase 2 Implementing Consortia, partners and Stakeholders in Lusaka, Zambia
The three- days event aimed at resolving technical issues related to the implementation of GMES & Africa phase 2 and enhance cross fertilization of services among the 6 consortia implementing the GMES and Africa programme across Africa, to reduce on service duplication. These consortia are;
1. Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) – Nairobi, Kenya
2. IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) – Nairobi, Kenya
3. Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE) – Dakar, Senegal
4. Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS)– Tunis, Tunisia
5. Southern Africa Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL), Windhoek, Namibia
6. The International Commission of the Congo-Oubangui-Sangha Basin (CICOS) – DR Congo
While officially opening the workshop, the GMES and Africa Project Coordinator, Dr. Tidiane Ouattara, emphasized that the stakeholders should consider how they should support, strengthen and empower each other in what he termed as cross fertilization. According to Dr. Tidianne, the meeting was an opportunity for the GMES and Africa Consortiums under different thematic backgrounds to share experiences and forge ideas on the design and development of Water and Natural Resources services.
Mr. Andreas Brink, a representative of the Joint Research Centre(JRC) of the European Commission emphasized on the commitment of the European Commission to ensuring relevant synergies, linkages and continued partnership in the implementation of the GMES and Africa Programme.
For good visibility of the GMES and Africa Activities, the programme communication experts from the 6 consortiums attended a parallel session. During the three days, the team worked on updating the continental communications strategy of GMES and Africa. The goal of the side meeting was to define the methodological approach to develop the regional communication strategy, conduct situational analysis, and define operational framework
Communication Experts from the consortiums implementing GMES and Africa
Under GMES and Africa programme, RCMRD is implementing three services and among the key outputs per each service are as follows;
1. Land degradation monitoring and assessment
This service aims to enhance use of Earth Observation technology for assessment of the level and severity of Land Degradation in Eastern Africa Region.
The key outputs are; Rainfall Erosivity, Slope factor, Vegetation Index, Land Use land cover, Population Index, and Soil erodibility
2. Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment
This service area aims to build institutional and human capacities in accessing and utilizing Earth Observation data in assessing and monitoring Wetlands to improve the decision-making process.
The key outputs are; Wetlands status maps, Wetlands Change Maps, Change statistics, Wetland vulnerability assessment
3. Open Geographical Regional Reference Vector for Water and Agro-ecological zonings.
This service area aims to improve the interpretation of Earth Observation data in decision making by developing a comprehensive database of geographical data. Learn more ; https://gmesgeoportal.rcmrd.org/
Its key outputs are; Geoportal, Data Dashboards, Geo-Infographics, and Web Maps Applications
As a way forward, the consortiums agreed to work together especially on aspects that deal with cross fertilization that was deemed very important and it servers as one of the pillars that GMES & Africa seeks to achieve. The consortiums will initiate a network of Earth observation and space communicators who will play an important role in disseminating information about the GMES and Africa at the regional and continental levels.
A joint initiative of the African Union Commission and the European Commission, GMES and Africa aims to address the growing needs of African countries to access and use Earth Observation (EO) data for the implementation of sustainable development policies, management of the environment and natural resources, as well as monitoring of humanitarian operations in Africa.
GMES & Africa phase 2 aims to build on the achievements of the first phase of the GMES & Africa programme. The consortia are charged with improving the existing services in their region by investigating mechanisms to ensure that the services become user-driven and sustainable at the technical and financial levels.