The overall objective of this program is to enhance monitoring for preparedness and adaptation to environmental change, including sustainable management of the environment thereby contributing to poverty alleviation in the poorest area of the world.
The purpose of the program is to increase the information management capacity of African regional and national institutions in support of decision makers at different levels and to facilitate sustainable access to Africa-wide environmental information derived from Earth Observation technologies.
Five Regional Thematic Actions (THEMA) are being established by the RICs to develop appropriate information services, in order to address the already prioritised decision needs of the RECs in the fields of (i) water resources management; (ii) crop and rangeland management; (iii) agricultural and environmental resources management; (iv) mitigation of land degradation (including forest exploitation) and conservation of natural habitats and; (v) marine and coastal management
AMESD extends the operational use of Earth observation technologies and data from meteorological to environment and climate monitoring applications. The initiative will enable all African national and regional institutions focusing on environment and natural resources, as well as the continent’s National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, to catch up technologically with their counterparts in Europe, America and Asia, which have benefited from the use of operational space technologies in environmental monitoring for some time. It has four main area of focus:
Providing the African user community with better access to Earth observation, field and ancillary data, as well as the infrastructure, local capacity and services necessary to sustain long term environmental monitoring;
Setting up operational regional information services to support and improve decision-making in environmental management;
Establishing national, regional and continental environmental information processes, frameworks and activities enabling African governments to meet their obligations regarding international environmental treaties more effectively and to participate in strategic global environment surveillance programmes such as Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS);
Organizing specialized training and staff exchange programmes to maintain the technical capability of African AMESD stakeholders in the long term, with the aim of ensuring self-sufficiency. More than 500 African technicians will be trained by AMESD.
AMESD is a Pan African Initiative with a Continental and Regional Components
AU-EU Partnership. AMESD is a partnership between the African Union Commission (AUC) and the European Union (EU). AUC has been mandated by the five participating Regional Economic Communities (RECs: CEMAC, ECOWAS, IGAD, IOC, and SADC) with the ACP Secretariat in charge of the program implementation. AMESD was kicked off in October 2007 and is expected to run until mid 2013. Its funding from the European Development Fund reaches €21 million.
A Pan African Initiative
AMESD covers all the 48 ACP African countries. Each REC designated an institution in its area of jurisdiction as a Regional Implementation Centre (RIC) in order to develop AMESD added value products and services, based on Earth observation data, and put in place regional networks for the dissemination and use of these services at national level. The RICs are as follows:
The Centre régional de Formation et d’Application en Agrométéorologie et Hydrologie Opérationnelle (AGRHYMET) in Niamey for the ECOWAS region;
The Botswana Department of Meteorological Services for the SADC region;
The Mauritius Oceanographic Institute (MOI) in Quatre Bornes for the IOC region;
The Commission Internationale du Bassin Congo-Oubagui-Sangha (CICOS) in Kinshasa for the CEMAC region;
The IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) in Nairobi for the IGAD region.
At the political level the RECs’ goal in AMESD is, in line with their institutional mandate, to support the development of Regional Environmental and Natural Resources Policies and Plans and, within each AU member state, the National Action Plans (NAPs). The latter should promote a regional management of the public (institutional) and private sector related to environmental monitoring using EO technology. In this context, AMESD aims to provide decision-makers in the RECs, the African Union Commission and the national level with full access to the environmental data and products they need to improve national and regional policy and decision-making processes for better management of natural resources.
The program’s principal partners include the European Commission, EUMETSAT, the Commission of the African Union, the five participating African Regional Economic Communities and the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).
AMESD is presided over by a Program Steering Committee, which supervises the initiative’s implementation. This is comprised of representatives of the Regional Economic Communities, the ACP Secretariat, the Delegated Regional Authorizing Officer nominated by the commission of the African Union and his/her deputy, as well as representatives of the European Commission, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), UN Environment Program (UNEP), Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and EUMETSAT.
The Technical Assistance (TA) is a Consortium of four firms (THALES ALENIA SPACE-France, BRLi, IRD and Conzortio ITA) contracted by the AUC to assist in the management of the program (technical, administrative and financial) at the AUC Headquarters in Addis Ababa, and at the RICs’ level.
Monitoring, Environment, Sustainable Development, Africa (227 – 2013)