Brussels, 14 November 2005
Natural and manmade catastrophes in Europe, America, Asia and Africa, coupled with increased security needs, have further reinforced the case for improved monitoring systems. The European Commission is pressing ahead with plans to introduce the first three earth observation services concerning emergency management, land and marine monitoring.
After GALILEO, the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security has become the second EU flagship in space policy. It will gather relevant data, for example concerning environmental pollution, floods, forest fires or earthquakes in support of public policy makers’ needs. GMES will ensure that crisis situations can be better anticipated and managed. It can provide the foundation for evidence-based environmental policy making, as well as the information required to ameliorate its effects on citizens. For more information, see MEMO/05/420 .
Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen responsible for enterprise and industry policy said: “GMES will improve our capacity to respond to natural catastrophes. At the same time it will promote the competitiveness of the European space industry.”
Extreme weather events and natural or manmade crises constantly occupy a major place in the news. It is clear that it becomes a priority for the EU to look for solutions that can provide a basis for a response in these situations and, in the longer-term, seek to prevent their recurrence.
From 11 areas identified earlier as potential initial GMES services, the Commission has selected emergency management, land monitoring, and marine services. These will now enter into their pilot operational phase.
In the short term and as a first step, the Commission will set up a GMES organisational structure, operating within the Commission, to strengthen the management of GMES, including the development of three pilot services to be ready in 2008:
- The Emergency Management service aims to reinforce the European capacity to predict and respond to crises and emergencies associated with natural and man-made disasters.
- The Land Monitoring service will deliver timely, important information on land use and land cover changes for a number of identified areas at European, national and local scale.
- The Marine Services will provide data, information products and indicators on the condition of the seas.