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EUMETSAT signs cooperation agreements on Earth observation and support to the MESA capacity building project

(Friday, 05 July 2013)EUMETSAT and the African Union have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation on Earth observation as well as the implementing arrangement for Monitoring of Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) project, funded by the European Development Fund (EDF).

Over the last 20 years, EUMETSAT has developed its cooperation with Africa on access and applications of its satellite data, in particular in major capacity building projects funded by the EDF, like PUMA (Preparation for the use of MSG in Africa) and AMESD (African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development). EUMETSAT has deployed about 400 low cost data receiving stations over the entire African continent, through which African users can access in real time the full EUMETSAT data stream and environmental information and forecasts from other partners.

The new Memorandum of Understanding on Earth observation establishes a political mechanism for ensuring that future cooperation will continue to benefit all African Union member states.

A first concrete realisation is the EUMETSAT contribution to the MESA capacity building project established between the African Union and the European Union and funded by the European Development Fund, as a follow-up to the PUMA and AMESD projects. Capitalising on previous investments, the project’s focus is to strengthen the capacity to use Earth observation data in Africa, with emphasis on climate and environment applications.


The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 27 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and four Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Iceland, Lithuania, and Serbia).

EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8, -9 and -10 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-7 over the Indian Ocean.

EUMETSAT also operates two Metop polar orbiting satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Administration for Atmosphere and Ocean (NOAA). The Metop-B polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, launched on 17 September 2012, became prime operational satellite on 24 April 2013. It replaced Metop-A, the first European polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, which was launched in October 2006. Metop-A will continue operations as long as its available capacities bring benefits to users.

The Jason-2 ocean altimetry satellite, launched on 20 June 2008 and exploited jointly with NOAA, NASA and CNES, added monitoring of sea state, ocean currents and sea level change to the EUMETSAT product portfolio.

The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and the global climate.

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