AU Headquarters to Host AMESD Receiving Station

Published on 28th April 2009

EUMETSAT and the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission (AUC) have organised an AMESD-EUMETSAT day at the African Union Commission’s premises in Addis Ababa. The main purpose of the event is to provide information on the status of the African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD) programme and its impact on African nations and to present EUMETSAT and its contribution to Africa.

This event includes the inauguration of the first AMESD Thematic Receiving Station at AUC Headquarters, based on the EUMETCast system, a presentation of the capabilities of this system to provide vital earth observation data to African Union Member States and a technical session on "EUMETSAT and Africa: A Sustainable Partnership" in the AUC Plenary Hall.During the afternoon of AMESD-EUMETSAT Day.

The official inauguration ceremony was held on 29th April 2009 in the presence of H.E. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E. Koen Vervaeke, the Head of the EU Delegation to the AUC, Dr. Lars Prahm, the Director-General of EUMETSAT, ambassadors from AU Member States, and representatives of the UN Environment Programme, UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Background information on EUMETSAT

The main purpose of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) is to operate a system of meteorological satellites monitoring the atmosphere and ocean and land surfaces, which deliver weather and climate-related satellite data, images and products – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This information is supplied to the National Meteorological Services of the organisation's Member and Cooperating States in Europe, as well as other users worldwide. EUMETSAT is an international organisation and was founded in 1986. EUMETSAT currently has 22 Member States and 8 Cooperating States.

Since more than 15 years, EUMETSAT provides comprehensive support to Africa. Its major contributions are:

- the full coverage of Africa with its satellites, and the free access to its data and products for official duty at national and regional level;

- the dissemination of its data to Africa, through the EUMETCast system

- the training of African users.

- the biennial EUMETSAT User Forum in Africa;

- the support to international project, such as Provision of Meteosat Second Generation in Africa (PUMA) project and the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD).

To strengthen its cooperation in Africa, EUMETSAT has concluded several cooperation agreements with African institutions, notably the African Union Commission, the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD), AGRHYMET Regional Centre, and Agency for the Safety of Aerial Navigation in Africa (ASECNA). EUMETSAT maintains close contact with all African National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, in cooperation with the World Meteorological Organisation, with the Regional Economic Communities and with the ACP Secretariat.

Weather forecasting capabilities across the continent have been greatly enhanced in recent years by initiatives such as Preparation for the Use of MSG in Africa (PUMA), the first pan-African technology project focusing on Earth observation funded by the European Union. PUMA has made available data and products from EUMETSAT’s latest satellites, enabling African National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to provide accurate weather forecasts, monitor extreme weather events, improve disaster management and forestall drought and starvation.

The African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD) initiative takes PUMA a stage further by significantly extending the use of remote sensing data to environmental and climate monitoring applications. AMESD, in which EUMETSAT also plays a key role, is financed from the European Union’s European Development Fund. AMESD is an international cooperation project with the objective of providing all African nations with resources they need to manage their environment more effectively and ensure long-term sustainable development in the region.

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