SA, Europe in Earth observation pact
10 December 2012
The South African National Space Agency and the European Commission's Joint
Research Centre have signed an agreement to collaborate in using remote sensing technologies to monitor the environment to help improve international disaster risk management.
According to a statement released by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the
agreement aims to "better exploit remote sensing technologies for monitoring atmospheric, terrestrial and marine environments".
The JRC is the European Commission's in-house science service and is actively
involved in working with national and international partners on crisis management
technologies; analysis and application of remote sensing data; natural hazard
modelling; information mining and analysis for vulnerability assessments; and civil
The collaboration agreement was signed in Brussels, Belgium last Thursday at a high-level meeting on scientific collaboration to improve
disaster anticipation and resilience.
The meeting was initiated by commissioner for research, innovation and science,
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, and included senior officials of the European Commission.
the World Bank and the United Nations.
"Science and technology offer key solutions to improve preparedness and response
to natural and man-made disasters, including those related to climatic change," the
"The scope of this agreement is to work together on a better understanding of
dynamics and evolution of our natural environment through optimal exploitation of
Earth observation data and to develop technologies and services which support not
only national policies - [such as] agriculture monitoring - but also international issues and policies for disaster risk reduction, early warning and emergency management."
It was also expected that the signing of the agreement would assist in "fostering
partnerships to advance international
scientific collaboration", the Commission said.