(29 April 2009) Today, the inauguration ceremony took place of a reception station recently installed in Ethopia’s capital to supply the African Union Commission (AUC) with real-time data, images and products from EUMETSAT satellites and from other data providers through EUMETCast, EUMETSAT’s data dissemination system.
Covering the entire African continent, it is the first reception station installed in the framework of the African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD) programme.
Financed by the EU, AMESD aims to strengthen capacities in Africa to receive, process and analyse satellite data for monitoring the environment, with the objective of supporting decision-making processes and policies towards the sustained development of the African continent. Similar stations will be installed in the coming years in each of the 47 sub-Saharan African countries, to allow the African Union Member States to benefit from key information for their national and regional environmental policies.
The station was inaugurated on the occasion of EUMETSAT-AMESD Day by H.E. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the AUC, Dr. Lars Prahm, Director-General of EUMETSAT, and H.E. Koen Vervaeke, the EU Ambassador to the African Union.
The station and others to be installed in future will complement the EUMETCast stations already in place at African National Meteorological Services in the framework of the Preparation for the Use of Meteosat Second Generation in Africa (PUMA) project. These stations have already greatly enhanced weather forecasting capabilities across the continent through the real-time reception of Meteosat data.
The inauguration of the Addis Ababa station is an early achievement of the Africa-EU partnership. Giving Africa direct access to satellite data is, in addition to all the benefits for the environment, a first step towards the enhancement of knowledge on space information and technologies in Africa and a direct contribution to the GMES Africa flagship initiative of the partnership on “Sciences, Information Society and Space”.
During the inauguration ceremony, Dr. Prahm said, “With the inauguration of this antenna comes the recognition that EUMETAT data and the EUMETCast infrastructure can support environmental monitoring and policy-making processes on the African continent. Moreover, it represents the beginning of a major breakthrough for African nations, as AMESD will provide them with the resources they need to manage their environment effectively and ensure long-term sustainable development in the region.”
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 22 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and eight Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic).
EUMETSAT is operating the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8 and -9 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-6 and -7 over the Indian Ocean.
Metop-A, the first European polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, was launched in October 2006 and has been delivering operational data since 15 May 2007.
The Jason-2 ocean altimetry satellite, launched on 20 June 2008, added ocean surface topography to the missions EUMETSAT conducts.
The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites make a significant contribution to weather forecasting and to the monitoring of the global climate.