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Global monitoring for environment and security
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EU-ESA action

Joint initiative

The European Commission will develop and promote GMES, emphasising the strategic importance of having improved information systems at the service of the environment and security.
It will also represent the users and their needs at the Union level, and will continue to assess requirements emerging from new or evolving Community policies. At the core of this, it provides financial support and staffing for the realisation of the initial period of work (2001-2003), and fosters the political process to ensure that GMES is fully implemented.

The European Space Agency is to act as an agent responsible for developing and/or procuring the required space infrastructure and associated ground facilities. As well as coordinating space-related activities among the partners involved, such as the European Commission, Eumetsat (Europe’s meteorological satellite organisation), national space agencies, industry and research organisations.

Eye on the atmosphere

GATO – global atmospheric observations – is a research cluster monitoring ozone depletion and UV radiation levels in the atmosphere. This work contributes to atmospheric assessment on a global scale, and is instrumental in ensuring Kyoto protocol commitments are met. Reliable tracking of long-term phenomena involves the correlation of data gathered from ground-based measurements, balloons, aircraft – and, increasingly, from satellites.

Aiming for 2008

Representatives of European users and suppliers of the services and technologies involved in Global Monitoring for Environment and Security came together for the inaugural meeting of the GMES steering committee in Brussels on 19 March 2002. This event marked the first step in implementing the joint EU/ESA action plan to pave the way for the creation of an autonomous global monitoring system by 2008.

Initial aims (by the end of 2003) will be to assess Europe’s existing activities and infrastructures in monitoring and information production, and to adjust the mechanisms for the development, collection and distribution of data and information in support of EU policy goals – or, if needed, develop new ones.

The yearly GMES Forum is an essential feature of the initiative, bringing together all major actors involved in the monitoring and production of information for environment and security policies in Europe. The Forum stimulates dialogue and develops a shared understanding of the issues – and seeks a common approach to finding solutions.

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EU-ESA action