AU trains on guidelines for environmental observation grants
Written by: Steven Nsamaza
Sunday, February 19th, 2017, 6:56
Kigali: Thirty delegates from the Eastern Africa region including the Indian Ocean Islands are meeting in Kigali for a 2-day information session on the guidelines of how to benefit from Africa Union grants for earth observation.
The Coordinator of the Global Monitoring Environment and Security in Africa under AU, Dr Tidiane Ouattara said, the training is the first in a series organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) to be conducted in five regions of the continent.
“We are meeting in Kigali with delegates from the Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands to provide them with information on grants for the Global Monitoring Environment and Security in Africa (GMES & Africa) initiative.
The GMES & Africa is a cooperation initiative between Africa and Europe in earth observation. First launched in 2007, the initiative avails an opportunity for Africa to utilize Europe’s earth observation services. The initiative seeks to promote development of local capacities, institutional, human and technical resources for sustainable development in Africa.
The earth observation initiative aims to provide sustainable, reliable, and timely space-derived environmental and security information to the public and policy-makers at national, regional and continental levels.
Dr Tidiane Ouattara said, the initiative has nine thematic areas but a series of consultation with stakeholders led to prioritization of three themes under two services which are Water & Natural Resources and Marine & Coastal Areas to be implemented in the first phase.
GMES & Africa is a €30 million program with the EU providing €29.5 million while the AU will contribute €0.5 million. The coordinator noted that, €17.5 million is earmarked for grants and another part of the money will be paid to European institutions for their technical support and the reminder used for coordination of the program.
The coordination unit advised participants that to access the grants, institutions should work together to gain more credibility. The projects accessing the grant are also required to have at least 20% in funds or other necessary materials for executing their projects.
Grants will be awarded after rigorous evaluations using AUC procurement procedures, to institutions that will act as regional outlets on the identified applications. Applicants encouraged to access the grants include academic, public and private institutions in the area of earth observation.
Among the participants at the meeting is Dr Gaspard Rwanyizire, the Director of the Centre for Geographical Information System (CGIS) at the University of Rwanda. CGIS deals with disaster management and maps by analyzing and advice on land.
“As far as Rwanda is concerned, these grants can support to solve problems related to disaster management through innovative technologies, underlined Dr Rwanyizire. “The negative effects of climate change in the region can also be addressed.”
After the meeting in Kigali this weekend, the AU training team is scheduled to travel to other different regions of Africa. The West Africa region meeting will be in Dakar from 22 to 23 February; North Africa in Egypt from 27 to 28 February; Central Africa in Libreville (Gabon) from 06 to 07 March and the Southern Africa region meeting in Gaberone (Botswana) from 09 to 10 March 2017.