The first Forum of the Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) conducted in Kenya from 31st August – 4th September 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The Forum discussed how Earth Observation data through the MESA Project supports policy, planning and decision making at the national, regional and continental level in Africa.
Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, H.E. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, in her opening statement said: “This Forum is a great opportunity for all of us: African Decision-makers, Experts, Service Providers and the User Community to exchange views on various aspects of the project in order for the MESA project to remain relevant and useful to the community that it is intended to serve in its multiple sectoral areas of focus including agriculture, coastal and marine resources, climate variability and Climate change including assessment, natural resources conservation, disaster risks reduction, flood and drought monitoring, fisheries, forestry monitoring, land degradation mitigation, livestock management, monitoring of wildfires, and water resources management”
“Before this, my office and team members had to travel physically to protected areas which took several days and incurred huge costs. Thanks to the MESA projects, KWS can now get a snapshot of satellite images of the protected areas on a single page. That is a clear example of how these technologies and the ones to be discussed here over the next five days impact our everyday lives. The funds saved from such initiatives can be now channeled by Government to further research and innovation towards safeguarding our environment” said her keynote address Prof. Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and Regional Development Authority of the Republic of Kenya.
During this time delegates have exchanged best practices that have helped African Governments and organisations to establish coherent frameworks for the development of Earth Observation activities which are influencing policy for environmental sustainability for future generations.
The Forum has the theme “Streamlining MESA products and services towards the decision making cycle in support of sustainable environmental management” and will be organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) together with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources with the support of the European Union. 200 international delegates comprising of decision and policy makers, planners, earth observation data users and experts from across the continent.
The MESA Project is a European Union funded Programme implemented with the overall coordination of the African Union Commission and steering by the Regional Economic Communities and Inter-Governmental Organisations(CEMAC, ECOWAS, IGAD, IOC and SADC) and the ACP Secretariat, in close cooperation with the European Union and partners such as EUMETSAT and the EC Joint Research Centre.