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Editorial, Issue 9

Our association is nearing the one hundred members level and in the wake of the EoVox analyses we are considering some important evolutions in the way we carry our association business. Such evolutions relate in particular both to increasing our action potential and to get more of the influence expected from us through better visibility and presence. An evolution plan elaborated by a dedicated working group which met several times during the past year will be submitted for a vote to the members at the next General Assembly on July 4th in Brussels.
The proposed changes are very substantial and fully justify your educated presence and the resulting essential feedback that you must provide. This next General Assembly will also be marked by the presence of high executives from top European public institutions which will contribute to make that day a very fruitful one and a not to be missed occasion.
This General Assembly will bring to a close a business year marked by progress on several fronts for the European involvement in the use of Earth Observation for the monitoring of the environment. On the political front, with more in-depth discussions on the various governance issues, on the economic and financial fronts with clarifications of budget lines at ESA and EU, or on the technical and thematic fronts with the taking off of the Sentinel satellites programme and the development of the Fast Track services. The events of this spring, the GMES conference under German presidency in Munich, the ESA ENVISAT conference in Montreux, and the next EURISY meeting on May 29th and 30th in Barcelona on “Future Challenges for Local and Regional Authorities: How can Space Technology help”, all point towards this same direction. Last and certainly not least EARSC is organising on May 31st in partnership with the EU DG INFSO a strategically important event for GMES, gathering in Brussels the in-situ and remote sensing communities. This event entitled “In-situ monitoring and Earth observation in the framework of GMES and GEOSS” will be the precursor of a stronger involvement of EARSC in the links with the in-situ communities.
Even if these steps are encouraging, our vigilance should not weaken. GMES is a very complex initiative and our support must not fail. GMES is a chance for Europe as well as for sustainable development at large within the GEOSS framework
We look forward to seeing you at the next EARSC events and to listen to your opinions and recommendations.
With best wishes to you all.
On behalf of the Board
EARSC Chairman