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Satellite technology for better resource management

An African Union - European Union co-operation programme aimed at providing all African nations with the resources to manage their environment more effectively is up and running. AMESD, the African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development programme, uses data from EUMETcast satellites to implement five regional projects covering climate and environmental themes.

Utilising satellite technology

AMESD is the follow-on initiative to Preparation for the Use of Meteosat Second Generation in Africa (PUMA). Its activities include the deployment of new EUMETcast stations on the continent, the maintenance of existing PUMA stations and the implementation of various monitoring projects.

The PUMA project equipped 46 meteorological centres with reception stations to access critical weather data, and provided training and application support. This satellite-based system allows the continent’s National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to provide accurate weather forecasts, monitor extreme weather events, and improve disaster management. AMESD is now taking PUMA a step further by extending the use of Earth Observation remote sensing data to environmental monitoring applications.

The fundamental objective is to enable African experts to use satellite technology to support sustainable development. The initiative follows on from the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, where world leaders highlighted the need for timely access to accurate and reliable satellite-based data to assimilate and generate knowledge about environments.

Thematic regional projects

Five thematic regional projects (called THEMAs) have been identified.

• Integrated water resource management
• Management of crops and pastureland
• Land degradation mitigation and natural habitat conservation
• Management of marine resources and coastal areas
• Management of environment and agricultural resources

AMESD in practice

The International Commission of the Congo-Oubangui-Sangha basin (CICOS), established by Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is one of five regional centres tasked with implementing the AMESD programme. CICOS aims at improving interior navigation and integrated water resources management (IWRM) of the whole Congo basin.
The Commission, along with the countries involved, will analyse radar data of water levels and precipitations, soil moisture, land cover and vegetation in order to better monitor the navigation conditions and the basin water balance. Congo Basin is the second largest river basin of the world after the Amazon's.
The other four regional Implementation Centres are AGRHYMET based in Niamey, Niger; BMS in Gaborone, Botswana; ICPAC in Nairobi, Kenya and the MOI in Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius.