The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa) – GMES is known today as the EU Copernicus programme - was established in 2007, as a firm commitment to boost the cooperation between Europe and Africa in the development and implementation of Earth Observation (EO) applications tailored to African requirements, and to facilitate the development and use of space-based technologies in Africa. Europe is in this way not only offering to share with Africa the benefits of the data and services produced thanks to European space technology and expertise, but to support the African continent in developing their own space policy and expertise in areas key for its development.
In October 2015, the EU Commission (DG DEVCO) backed the initiative, providing funding support from its Pan-African Programme. The three priority topics, to be addressed during the initial implementation phase of the initiative (2016 – 2020), include long term management of natural resources, monitoring of marine and coastal areas and water resources management. A specific roadmap was developed, applying the programmatic approach of the Copernicus programme and making the best of what Europe can offer in terms of Earth Observation data and technology.