“The command and appropriate use of information has important geo-strategic implications,“ said Heinz Zourek, Director-General of the Commission’s Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General, “and Europe needs to have available a capacity which allows it independently to evaluate its policy responses in a reliable and timely manner. A comprehensive Earth observing system, using space-borne and in situ techniques on land, in the air and at sea, through well-defined operational services, is key to ensuring the implementation and monitoring of environmental and security policies in the context of sustainable development.”
“The ultimate beneficiaries of more effective and more efficient public policies and services are Europe’s citizens,” says Verheugen. “As with so much of what we do at Community level, we need to connect with them. One way to do this is through the youth of Europe.”
Speaking on 20 April 2006, following the GMES conference in Graz, Austria, Verheugen said, “The title ‘Global Monitoring for Environment and Security’ is an accurate statement of the purpose of this initiative. Unfortunately, ‘GMES’ is not the most memorable of names. We need to find something more attractive, a name that will encapsulate what the services are and also what they stand for – in marketing terms, their brand values. We need to establish the same level of public recognition that is already becoming apparent for GALILEO, the EU’s other space-related flagship programme. That is why I am launching a competition among Europe’s schools to identify a new name for GMES.”
The contest will be aimed at teenagers who are in the final years before they leave school or college for work or university. Participating schools will decide for themselves how to fit information about GMES into their academic curricula. Possible entry points could include geography, environmental studies or physics.
“Once the students have a good understanding of the purpose of GMES and the technologies which lie behind it,” explains Verheugen, “they will work as a team to provide their entry in the competition to find a new name. I am launching this competition in association with the Committee of the Regions and inviting it to make the initial approach to the schools.”
The EU’s Director-General of the Enterprise and Industry Heinz Zourek has added, “It’s no secret – young people can sometimes show more imagination than us bureaucrats, and we want to make sure that GMES has the highest possible level of visibility and recognition among the public that it will ultimately serve.”
A dedicated website featuring all necessary information on the GMES name contest will be launched in early May 2006. The winning entry is expected to be named in early 2007.