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Commission continues to forge strong EO partnership

On 25 January 2006, the European Commission and EUMETSAT signed letters
outlining future co-operation on GMES (Global Monitoring for
Environment and Security). EU officials say the signing paves the way
to a strong working relationship on Europe’s premier Earth Observation
(EO) initiative, part of a comprehensive European Space Policy.

26 January 2006
The European Commission has been a prime
mover in getting GMES off the ground and it continues to build towards
full European participation in this critical initiative. The letters of
intention, signed in Brussels, establish the basis of a formal
Agreement to follow between the two parties.
The letters have no financial implications
but do set out areas of co-operation and assign clear responsibilities
for the near term. Specifically, the Commission will access existing
EUMETSAT satellite data and services and will define ways to use these
within GMES. It will also recognise EUMETSAT as an operational agency
for future GMES initiatives and will support initiatives to improve the
use of EUMETSAT data in Africa. Meanwhile, EUMETSAT will offer
technical support and guidance on how to establish new services.
Specifically, existing and future EUMETSAT applications will be used in
the to advance fast-track marine services.
“I am very pleased to sign this Agreement
with EUMETSAT. The Commission and EUMETSAT have lots of common grounds,
as the two organisations are driven by user needs. IN addition,
EUMETSAT is a space operational agency. This is very important for us,
particularly for the development of GMES services, which will have to
be user driven and run operationnally. I hope that the signature of
these letters is a first step towards a more intense and fruitful
cooperation between the Commission and EUMETSAT.” said Mr Zourek
Director-General of the Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General,
signing on behalf of the European Commission.
Excellence in international co-operation
new EU-EUMETSAT accord will ensure the availability of key satellite
data not only for Europe but also for many developing countries.
Together with the Commission’s Directorate-General for Development,
EUMETSAT has already initiated a continent-wide project enabling all 53
African countries to access EO information through the EUMETCast
system. This project, known as PUMA (Preparation for the Use of
Meteosat Second Generation in Africa) will deploy 60 EUMETCast
receiving stations in Africa and will enable all African countries,
plus a number of regional centres, to access all EUMETSAT data,
products and services.
As a continuation of the PUMA project, on
the request of five African Economic groupings, the European Commission
is now laying the groundwork for the AMESD project (African Monitoring
of the Environment for Sustainable Development).
Combining forces
GMES is a joint initiative of the European
Union and the European Space Agency (ESA). It represents a concerted
effort to bring environmental and security data providers together with
users, to make such information available to those who need it, in the
most efficient way. The EU aims to launch GMES services by 2008.
EUMETSAT is the European Organisation for
the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. Created through an
international Convention, it is responsible for the launch and
operation of weather and environmental monitoring satellites and for
the delivery of satellite data to end-users. It also plays a major role
in a global meteorological satellite observing system, in coordination
with other space-faring nations. With its unparalleled experience as a
provider of satellite data, EUMETSAT can guarantee delivery of
high-quality data 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Commission
considers this sort of capability crucial to the operational remit of
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(Credits Europa)