A second amendment to the Delegation Agreement on the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Programme has been concluded on 15th June between both the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The documents have been signed in Paris by Heinz Zourek, Director General of DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission, and Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA. Their signature confirms the transfer of additional 104 million euro from the EU budget to ESA for the initial operations of the space component for the GMES Programme. The new total volume amounts to 728 million euro.
The amended agreement is a further implementation step towards the operations phase resulting from EU Regulation 911/2010 on European Earth monitoring programme (GMES) and its initial operations (2011 to 2013) adopted on 22nd September 2010.
In the context of the EC Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and the GMES Initial Operations Programme, the increased budget given to ESA is intended to bridge the gap until 2014. In fact, further operational funding is expected to become available in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework. The aim is also to provide initial funds that will allow the preparation of contracts for the launch of the second generation of satellites that make up the Sentinel pairs. The first three Sentinel missions are designed to orbit in pairs to offer maximum coverage of Earth's surface.
The Agreement comes along with additional financial contribution showing how the European Commission and ESA relations have been working well thus renewing the role of ESA in ensuring execution of the GMES Programme. Latest and future GMES projects will in fact provide decision-makers with access to accurate and timely information services to manage the environment, to ensure civil security and to observe, evaluate and contain the effects of climate change as a major threat for EU citizens.
The smooth realisation of GMES relies mainly on the delivery of relevant satellite data. In this context, ESA is tasked with coordinating the space component within the Programme. Space components operations consist in conceiving, launching and operating five series of Sentinel satellites that make data available for GMES services as long as they are received from the satellite dedicated missions and from other space stations.