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SWIFT E-News n°10 – 7th April 2010

In this Issue

1. Highlight: Proposal for a Regulation on the GMES Programme and its Initial Operations (2011-2013) – follow-up
2. Highlight: GMES Workshop in Bulgaria
3. Good Progress of the SMOS Mission
4. EU Green Paper on Forest Protection and Climate Change
5. EU 2020 Strategy – a Significant Breakthrough for Galileo and GMES
6. EU Strategy to Reinvigorate Global Action after Copenhagen
7. European Parliament’s Resolution on Natural Disasters that Occurred in Madeira and Europe
8. A Major Step Forward in the Development of the GMES Sentinel Satellites
9. Post-2010 EU Biodiversity Strategy
GMES Project Corner:
10. Geoland2 Spatial Data Infrastructure
11. Upcoming LIMES Workshops


1. Proposal for a regulation on the GMES programme and its initial operations (2011-2013) – follow-up

The draft report on the Commission’s proposal of 20 May 2009 for a Regulation on a GMES programme and the rules for the implementation of GMES initial operations (2011 2013), prepared by the MEP rapporteur Norbert Glante (S&D), was voted by the Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee on 18 March 2010. Prior to this vote, the Presidency of the Council presented a progress report on the proposal for a GMES regulation to the Competitiveness Council that met on 1-2 March 2010. The report identifies budget, governance, and data policy as the main outstanding issues. Finally, the Commission’s proposal is expected to be voted by the whole European Parliament in June this year.

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2. GMES workshop in Bulgaria

The 25-26 March 2010 GMES workshop in Bulgaria, which was organised by the Bulgarian Information Office for GMES, under the aegis of the Bulgarian government, and with the support of the European Commission, aimed to raise awareness on GMES and increase involvement of the new EU Member States. In addition to the Bulgarian Commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, high level representatives of the Commission, ESA, EUMETSAT and the European Environment Agency gave speeches during the first day of the event, followed by numerous other presentations from national representatives and EU funded projects, addressing specific GMES activities or services.

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3. Good progress of the SMOS mission

Since its launch on 2 November 2009, ESA’s SMOS mission has been commissioned, showing recently first promising calibrated images of ‘brightness temperature’, which after substantial processing can give information about soil moisture and ocean salinity. Although the in-orbit commissioning phase of SMOS will continue until the end of April 2010, the quality of the SMOS data products will be assessed throughout the lifetime of the mission.

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4. EU Green Paper on forest protection and climate change

By publishing a Green Paper on 1 March 2010 the European Commission launched a public consultation on protecting Europe’s forests against climate change. The outcome of this consultation will guide the Commission to explore what value action at EU level can be added to national efforts for forests protection. As regards existing forest information systems, the Green Paper underlines that the European Forest Data Centre builds on several initiatives, including GMES. As next steps, the Commission will organise in the first half of this year a workshop and stakeholder meeting as well as a forest protection conference.

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5. EU 2020 Strategy – a significant breakthrough for Galileo and GMES

As a response to the global economic crisis and built upon the experience of the EU Lisbon Strategy, the European Commission set up on 3 March 2010 the new EU 10-year plan for growth and jobs. Based on three interlinked priorities for action, the EU 2020 Strategy seeks to strengthen, among others, the EU industrial policy. One of the actions that the Commission will undertake in this field is the development of an effective EU space policy able to deliver Galileo and GMES which acknowledges the important role these two space programmes will play for the future of the Union. The new economic roadmap was discussed by the whole European Parliament on 10 March and the European Council on 25-26 March, while its final adoption is foreseen for the June European summit.

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6. EU Strategy to reinvigorate global action after Copenhagen

In its Communication of 9 March 2010 the European Commission demonstrates determination to keep up the momentum for global action on climate change after the December 2009 Copenhagen conference. The Communication proposes thus a set of actions to be undertaken by the EU such as swift implementation of the Copenhagen Accord, EU leadership and active outreach to support the UN climate talks. The Environment Council meeting of 15 March and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting of 16 March adopted conclusions on climate change that are in line with the proposed Commission’s strategy. Lastly, the European summit of 25-26 March affirmed the necessity to bring a new dynamic to the international climate negotiation process and to set up an appropriate roadmap.

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7. European Parliament’s resolution on natural disasters that occurred in Madeira and Europe

Following the natural disasters that hit the autonomous region of Madeira and Europe in February 2010, the European Parliament adopted a resolution at its plenary meeting of 11 March 2010. Highlighting that extreme weather phenomena are likely to be increasingly frequent in recent years, the resolution urges a set of actions to be undertaken at all levels to prevent future natural disasters and help the affected regions. Regarding prevention the Parliament calls for appropriate measures for land use, water and efficient risk management as well as for long term investment in prevention policies.

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8. A major step forward in the development of the GMES Sentinel satellites

After having signed a contract with ESA in December 2009, on 12 March 2010 Thales Alenia Space started the construction of the Sentinel-1B and -3B satellites (the company is the prime contractor for the Sentinel-1 and -3 constellations). Later, on 31 March 2010 ESA signed a contract with Astrium for the development of the Sentinel-2B satellite (the contract to build the Sentinel-2A was signed with Astrium in 2008). These realisations will ensure that the first three of the series of five Sentinel missions will fly as pairs to achieve fast coverage of Earth’s land surface.

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9. Post-2010 EU Biodiversity strategy

Worrying about the failure of the EU efforts to tackle efficiently biodiversity loss, the Commission proposed on 19 January 2010 a post-2010 EU Biodiversity Strategy with options for new biodiversity targets and a long-term vision by 2050. At the Environment Council meeting of 15 March 2010, Ministers agreed on the strategy, but stressed, among others, the need for appropriate targets and integration into other relevant EU policies and strategies. Finally, the European summit of 25-26 March underlined the urgency of the matter and committed to the long term biodiversity 2050 vision and the 2020 target set out in the Environment Council’s conclusions of 15 March 2010.

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GMES Projects’ Corner

10. Geoland2 Spatial Data Infrastructure

The FP7 geoland2 project, which provides the pre-operational land service of GMES, is composed of two different geo-information service layers- the Core Mapping Services (CMS) and the Core Information Services (CIS). The Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) is mandatory for the access to input data, the internal data flows and processing chains, and the dissemination and provision to users. Currently, a baseline version of this SDI is released, where the identification and viewing clients are operational and provide access to datasets from different Service Providers. The full functionality of the SDI will become available within only a few months and from that time the geoland2 Expert Portal will provide the user community with a convenient access to GMES Land data.

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11. Upcoming LIMES workshops

Given that the FP6 project LIMES, providing the pre-operational security service of GMES, will end this year, two final workshops will be held in the coming months. Firstly, on 15 April a Final End User Workshop will be organised in Farnborough, United Kingdom with the main objective to present the GMES Maritime Surveillance element to established and potential new users and get their feedback on it. Secondly, the Workshop “Space Monitoring for Complex Crisis Management” will take place on 6-7 May in Rome, Italy. The event will seek to raise awareness on existing European satellite services for Safety and Security as well as to present final results and recommendation of the LIMES project and the FP7 ongoing Security and Emergency initiatives.

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This E-News is published by the SWIFT project whose aim is to support information dissemination in the framework of the European Commission GMES initiative.
SWIFT is a Coordination and Support Action funded by the European Commission / Directorate General Enterprise and Industry under the 7th Framework Programme.
The views expressed in this E-News are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the European Commission.
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