Implementing European Space Policy: Key ESA/EC agreement on EO data

26 October 2005  
An agreement on
space-based information services and access to, and provision of, Earth
Observation data was signed today by ESA and the Joint Research Centre
of the European Commission. The signature took place at ESRIN, the ESA
Earth Observation Centre in Frascati, Italy.
Dr Volker Liebig, Director of ESA??s Earth
Observation Programme, signed the agreement on the ‘Specific
arrangement concerning the development of space-based information
services and the access to and provision of Earth Observation data’ on
behalf of the ESA Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, while Mr
Freddy Dezeure, Director of Programme and Resource Management of the EC
Joint Research Centre (JRC), signed on behalf of the EC.
“This document defines the respective
tasks and responsibilities of ESA and the JRC for a strong coordinated
approach to the use of Earth Observation data in support of the
information services of the EU. This will strengthen cooperation with
the EU and secure the GMES (the joint EC-ESA initiative for Global
Monitoring for Environment and Security) as a major information
management and policy support tool for Europe,” said Volker Liebig.
There are four fields in which ESA and the JRC undertake to work together in close cooperation:
* coordinating the use of Earth Observation satellite missions, in which they have a common interest
* developing services aimed at meeting the specific needs of end users (in particular in EU services)
* optimising access to support information for EC actions
coordinating and providing technical support with regard to Earth
observation activities within the European initiative INSPIRE
(INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in the European Union), whose
objective is harmonising the methods employed by Member States to
collect data on the geographical characteristics of their own
This agreement has been
achieved in the awareness that coordinated use of Earth observation
technology makes it possible for the EU to pursue significant political
objectives in environmental protection and security, and confirms
European leadership in both the development of Earth observation
missions and their exploitation.
It offers the JRC, which is a key partner
in implementing the European GMES initiative, access to a wider and
more continuous data set from a large variety of Earth observation
satellites. As provider of technical support to the services of the EC,
the JRC is ideally placed to foster pre-operational and operational
services, in support of the EU policies and services being developed
through GMES. ESA is playing its role of leading agency in the
development of space systems, particularly in support of the GMES
A proposal for a new programme aiming at
the deployment of the GMES space component will be submitted to the ESA
Ministerial Conference, scheduled to take place in December 2005 in
Berlin. The GMES space component will include several Earth Observation
satellites in response to the requirements established by the EC
through its pilot projects for GMES information services.
The document signed today at ESRIN puts into effect many of the actions
envisaged in the ‘Framework Agreement between the European Union and
the European Space Agency’ in the field of Earth Observation. This
agreement, signed on 25 November 2003, laid the foundations for
significant strengthening of the European space sector, by promoting
the implementation of a global space policy to secure independent and
cost-effective space capabilities for Europe, to be developed in line
with EU policies on sustainable development, economic growth and
The Frascati agreement on Earth
observation will come into effect immediately. “This is a definite step
towards the implementation of a European Space Policy,” said Volker
(Credits ESA
Author: EARSC

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