Global Monitoring for Environment and Security: 4th Forum in Baveno, Italy

November 19, 2003

Paris, 18 Nov 2003

The overall aim of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative is to support Europe's goals regarding sustainable development and global governance, by facilitating the provision of quality data, information, and knowledge.

GMES, 4th Forum in Baveno, 26-28 November

GMES is co-led by the European Space Agency and the European Commission, but relies on the capability of both organisations' Member States.

End 2003 is a crucial time for GMES. GMES was started up in 1998 in Baveno, Italy. Five years on, GMES has developed from a loose gathering of space organisations to a cohesive structure fully involving the users, providers and political beneficiaries of space-based information for the benefit of Europe's citizens.

GMES forums bring together the main stakeholders in Europe involved in the use of observations from space and in-situ facilities for better management of the environment and enhanced security of Europe's citizens.

The 4th forum is being organised jointly by the Ministero dell'Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio, the Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Universita' e della Ricerca, the European Commission and the European Space Agency.

The 4th forum will focus on the achievements of the Initial Period of the GMES Action Plan (2002-2003). It will also focus on the actions to be taken to further extend the reach of GMES during the coming 2004-2007 period and to arrive at an operational global monitoring capacity for the environment and security by 2008. Presentations and discussions will be based on the Draft Final Report on the Initial Period of the GMES Action Plan, as well as on detailed supporting documents.

A press conference will be held on 26 November 2003, at 17:00, at Hotel Dino, Corso Garibaldi, 20, 28042 Baveno (Italy), which is the venue for the GMES Forum. The press conference will cover the issues to be discussed at the Forum and in particular the presentation of the Draft Final Report on the Initial Period of the GMES Action Plan. Participating in the press conference will be Mr Altero Matteoli, the Italian Minister for the Environment, Mr José Achache, Director of Earth Observation Programmes at ESA, and Mrs Catherine Day, Director General of Environment at the European Commission.

Media representatives wishing to attend are kindly requested to return the attached accreditation form to:

Simonetta Cheli

Fax: + 39 06 94180352

Note for editors:

Access to information has strategic value in the development of nations and regions. GMES will contribute to Europe's ability to fulfil its role as a world player. This entails having independent and permanent access to reliable and timely information on the status and evolution of the Earth's environment at all levels, from global to regional and local levels.

The information delivered by GMES will contribute to achieving three main objectives:

Meeting Europe's environmental obligations: contributing to the definition, negotiation, implementation and verification of European environmental policies, national regulations and international conventions

Supporting sustainable development both on EU territory and globally. This requires integration of the environmental dimension in European policies formulated by the various Commission Directorates-General, such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries, transport, regional development, external relations including humanitarian and development aid, and possible other policies at national and international level

Contributing to European citizens' security by providing information sources for civil protection and humanitarian aid. Among other things, GMES will help meet the Lisbon objective, which is for Europe to become the world's most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society by 2010.

GMES will be the European contribution to international efforts to understand the functioning and evolution of the Earth system as set out in existing multilateral agreements and initiatives such as those begun under the auspices of the World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002 and the Earth Observation Summit in 2003.

With respect to the contributions to be made to GMES by space-observing systems, these will be subject to the European Space Policy, as set out in the White Paper on Space recently issued by the Commission of the European Communities.

ESA's contribution to GMES

GMES is being driven forward at two different levels. One level involves overseeing the progress of GMES policy, while the other provides technical support to GMES through specific project-based activities.

At policy level, ESA is co-chairing the GMES Steering Committee together with the European Commission. Professor José Achache, Director of Earth Observation Programmes, is leading GMES on the ESA side. The Steering Committee includes all ESA and EU Member States, as well as other key GMES partners, such as Eumetsat, the European Environment Agency, the Secretariat General of the Council of the European Union, the EU Satellite Centre, Eumetnet, EARSC, Eurospace and other organisations.

On the technical side, ESA has allocated some EUR 83 million to startup of a number of GMES projects aimed at developing user-driven information services based on the use of space technology. These projects, begun at the end of 2002, cover a variety of topics, such as global forest monitoring in the context of Kyoto Protocol reporting requirements, information to prevent or reduce the occurrence of floods and forest fires, sea ice monitoring for ship routing, or the monitoring of agricultural resources for food security at global level. These projects have provided key input for the definition of GMES for the next period up to 2008.

Background

The GMES initiative was launched in May 1998 in Baveno, Italy, and adopted by the ESA and EU Councils in June and November 2001, respectively. Member States have shown keen interest in GMES from the start, by hosting several high-level conferences and workshops to make headway on GMES definition (Lille, Brussels, Stockholm and, most recently, Athens).

For the Initial Period (2001-2003), the focus of GMES efforts has been in line with a shared EC/ESA Action Plan, with initial emphasis on agreed thematic priorities, most of them directly related to the European Communities' 6th Environmental Action Plan. The objectives of the Initial Period were twofold:

· to deliver a set of pilot information resources and products for these priority themes, based on existing European capabilities, making it possible to assess current technical, organisational and institutional capability to meet user needs;

· to prepare a report proposing how progress can be made during the next GMES period (2004-2008).

The final report on the GMES initial period was prepared by a joint EC/ESA team and further reviewed by the EU and ESA Member States through the GMES Steering Committee (GSC). The report proposes a way forward for the period 2004-2008, as requested by the EU Council on 13 November 2001 and the ESA Council on 19 June 2001.

For further information, please contact:

Simonetta Cheli
ESA-ESRIN
Tel.: + 39.06.9418.0351
Fax: + 39.06.9418.0352

European Space Agency
http:///www.esa.int/export/esaCP/index.ht ml
Item source: http:///www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEMOX7XL DMD_index_0.html

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