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New EU Strategy for Africa – Earth observation at the forefront

The European Commission has adopted a new framework for a strategic
partnership between the European Union and Africa. (MDGs).

The European Commission has adopted a new framework for a
strategic partnership between the European Union and Africa. It sets
out the way on how to support Africa‘s efforts to get the continent
back on track towards sustainable development and attain the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs). It focuses on key requirements for
sustainable development such as peace and security, good and effective
governance, trade, interconnectivity, social cohesion and environmental
sustainability. In addition, it reaffirms the commitment to increase EU
aid to Africa and to improve aid effectiveness.
The Strategy focuses on the key requirements without which sustainable
development in Africa will not be possible: peace, security and good
governance. It subsequently looks into action on key areas that create
the necessary economic environment for development such as economic
growth, trade and infrastructure. Finally, the strategy pushes for
investing into areas with an important and direct impact on the
fulfilment of the MDGs such as health and education, sanitation, and
Space policy has been identified as a
tool in support of sustainable development in Africa. Many Africans
rely heavily on natural resources for their subsistence, particularly
in times of crisis, for example during famines or conflicts or in the
wake of natural disasters. However, Africa‘s environment is fragile and
prone to water shortages, climate change and desertification. Current
population growth and agricultural expansion have caused land shortages
and the intensification of agriculture has contributed to further land
degradation. An estimated 65 million people living in or near forests
depend on forest production for their livelihood. These forests are now
coming under increasing pressure for commercial exploitation. The EU
will therefore assist Africa to protect its environment, one of its
most valuable assets.
The European Commission has already
invested in this field. The Meteorological Transition in Africa Project
(PUMA), has just been finalised, and will be followed by the African
Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD) which
will be the African counterpart of the GMES initiative.
Through these projects and in
implementing the principles laid down in the Communication, the
European Commission will start a dialogue with the African Union
Commission in order to assess how space technologies can be best used
to support development policies in Africa, first in the field of
environment, but also in the field of telecommunication (i.e. through
tele-education projects, …) or of positioning (i.e. extension of the
EGNOS system towards Africa).
(Credits Europa)