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New GMES Bureau Head takes up EO challenge

Valere Moutarlier explains how the European Commission’s ‘GMES Bureau’ is developing a federated and structured demand for Earth Observation (EO) data and information, and promoting fast-track GMES services for 2008.

“The primary objective of the GMES Bureau is to ensure the delivery of fast track EO services by 2008,” explains GMES Bureau Head Valere Moutarlier. “To do so, we first have to get all of the potential users of these services to come together, to create a federated demand, starting within the Commission itself.”
The structure of the Bureau is unique, gathering staff from the Commission’s Directorates-General for Enterprise and Industry, Research, Environment, Information Society, Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, as well as the Joint Research Centre.
Speaking at the Bureau’s 1 June 2006 launch, Commission Vice-President Verheugen said, “Through its conceptual and technical expertise, the GMES Bureau can properly identify the needs and coordinate the GMES related activities of the whole Commission.”
Unique challenge, unique team
Moutarlier says the Bureau’s pan-Commission staff reflects its special role: “While we are a new unit within the Directorate-General for Enterprise, the Bureau was proposed jointly by Vice-President Verheugen, Research Commissioner Potocnik and Environment Commissioner Dimas. Our staff represents all users of GMES services within the European Commission.”
Moutarlier also says part of his role is being a good listener. “We have to remember that GMES is and should be a user-driven project and therefore we have to be receptive to the views and concerns of our partners and stakeholders. Our role is to nurture a spirit of pan-Commission and pan-European teamwork and exchange.”
Widening scope
Recognising the importance of GMES, the EU has set the goal of delivering operational and autonomous GMES services by 2008. These initial ‘fast-track’ services are to include land, marine and emergency response services. Three implementation groups are now busy developing draft guidelines for each of these three services, to be delivered by the end of 2006.
At the same time, the Bureau is also pushing forward on medium-term issues such as the GMES governance structure and longer-term financial sustainability. “Ultimately,” says Moutarlier, “the Bureau’s tasks will include developing proposals for managing GMES service provision beyond the Commission. This will include other EU institutions and bodies, Member States and intergovernmental organisations such as ESA, EUMETSAT, and EUSC.”
More information: * GMES website *
Valere Moutarlier +32 2 296 2162
(Source Europa)