Fostering new relationships between climate change and science
Building synergies and increasing efficiencies between different Africa-EU partnerships was discussed at a meeting between the EU delegation to the African Union (AU) and the African Union Commission (AUC) on 12 May. In particular, it was noted that enthusiasm for closer cooperation between the AU-EU climate change partnership and the science, information society & space partnership needed to be followed up by action.
The meeting was called in the context of building closer working relationships between the different partnerships and adopting similar approaches on points of joint interest, for example with climate change and energy on renewable energy.
It was also noted that cooperation on environmental observatory initiatives had benefited all parties involved. The African Monitoring of Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD), an agricultural surveillance programme launched by the AU and the EU, was hosted under the AU’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA). The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), the European initiative for the establishment of a European capacity for earth observation, has, meanwhile, been administered by the AU’s Human Resources Science and Technology (HRST) department. GMES is a system of data collected by earth observation satellites, in situ sensors such as ground stations and sea-borne sensors, which is then processed and sent to users. Although some prototype services are in operation, major development is still required.
Establishing a Working Group
Delegates acknowledged that all parties involved in these two programmes would benefit through more effective and efficient co-operation. It was agreed at the meeting that in order to achieve deeper cooperation, a small working group (WG) of core experts should be established. This WG will ensure input from both the Africa-EU Partnership on Climate Change and the Africa-EU Partnership on Science, Information Society & Space in order to ensure maximum efficiency and minimum duplication of work. Furthermore, experience gained under the AMESD programme can feed into the development of the GMES programme.
The core members of the WG will be the African Union Congress (AUC) and European Commission colleagues dealing with environment observatories from both the space and environment angles. The WG will call on other partners as appropriate, such as infrastructure, energy and peace & security.
A first meeting of this environment observatory WG will be called by the Human Resources Science and Technology department at the end of May. The working group will work as a first priority on the drafting of the GMES Action Plan and on the Joint Africa-EU 2nd Action Plan, in preparation for the AU-EU Commission’s meeting of 8 June in Addis Ababa. The WG will also look at the 2011-2012 AUC Programme Budget and the EU’s €55 million annual work programme.
The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) already involved in AMESD will be called into the GMES process as soon as possible and on a permanent basis as part of the Joint Extended Coordination Team in order to bring in their regional expertise.