Southern African Development Community (Sadc) experts from meteorological services, civil protection authorities and water authorities met in Harare yesterday to discuss security and environmental issues affecting the continent.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The meeting was part of the joint African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) initiative designed to address the growing needs of African countries to access and use Earth Observation (EO) data for the implementation of sustainable development policies on the continent through the integration and deployment of African requirements and needs.
Besides Sadc, the mission has been to other regions of Africa to also see ways of obtaining a grant to work in these areas.
“We are here today for the third session of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). That is an initiative that started in 2006 with the Maputo Declaration and the following year it was the Lisbon Declaration confirming the partnership between the EU and AU to put in place initiatives that will help Africa to tackle environmental and security issues,” AU space science expert and GMES and Africa programme co-ordinator Tidiane Ouattara said.
“When we say security, we have to understand that we have to look at things like disaster management, flooding and others. This is the kind of definition we are working with.”
Some countries in Africa, including Zimbabwe, have been left battling trails of destruction from unfriendly weather patterns.
This year alone, Zimbabwe has lost property worth millions of dollars due to flash floods and more than 200 people had been reported dead as a result of the heavy rains.
The initiative presents an opportunity for Africa to utilise European’s Copernicus programme infrastructure and facilities with a view to further promoting development and strengthening of local human and technical capacities to effectively access and exploit available EO-based services for use by policymakers towards the attainment of sustainable development in Africa.