RCMRD hosted the GMES and Africa Stakeholders’ online Workshop held between September 14 and 17, 2020. The GMES and Africa programme which is co-financed by the European Commission (EC) and the African Union Commission (AUC) seeks to address the need for Earth Observation data among African countries for sustainable development. RCMRD was awarded the grant by AUC to implement GMES thematic areas in the Eastern Africa region which covers 10 countries namely Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. These thematic areas are land degradation monitoring & assessment, Wetlands monitoring & assessment and Open geographical regional reference vector database for water and & agro-ecological zoning.
On 14th September 2020, RCMRD organized a private sector dissemination online workshop as part of the phase 3 on consultancy for development of Land Productivity Analysis and methodology under the GMES project. The workshop brought together partner institutions like Makerere University-Uganda, Geospatial Information Institute-Ethiopia, and Rwanda Water and Forest Authority-Rwanda, which are also the focal points.
The private sector has been involved in the implementation of the GMES& Africa Program to provide specialized skills in specific application areas that required specialized skills. These private sectors are implementing four consultancy areas which are Socio-Economic Valuation of Land and Wetlands Degradations, Wind Erosion Modelling, and Land Productivity Analysis. They are being implemented by GEO-MIK Consultants Africa, Locate IT, ESIPPS International Ltd, and Geospatial Research International (GRI) all who have been subcontracted.
The GEO MIK have developed a prototype to asses land productivity , Locate IT developed a methodology on soil erosion, and created a prototype for soil erosion and conducted training. The GRI role is to develop a methodology, prototype (COLWED) model on social economic valuation and training while ESSPIS, developed a prototype on wetland vulnerability and presented this to the users and stakeholders. The workshop was a hallmark of African countries being able to generate solutions to problems that affect them.This informed the purpose of the meeting which entailed information sharing, technology transfer of Earth Observation (EO) methodology, prototype and findings.
The four days workshop presented an opportunity for the members to communicate on project outputs, analysis tools, methodology and approaches for policy research linkages and recommendations that could be used for future reference. For instance, a prototype QGIS plugin and a handbook on wind erosion modeling were developed. These manuals would enable the users to comprehend land susceptibility and wind erosion. Additionally, output maps presented would help in visualizing the extents and severity of land susceptibility to wind erosion. Through the maps, the hotspot areas can be identified and mitigation measures taken. With this information, policy makers can utilize this to formulate policies on land use, and wise use of wetlands. As stated by RCMRD Director General during his closing remarks,’ more work is expected now that new tools have been developed. People have to know, interrogate and use them to generate other products and services . Our objectives is to have the tool value enough to people and impact the activities in our countries.”