Agreement will allow extension of GMES to developing countries
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) is intensifying and globalising its research activities relating to desertification and drought. The JRC recently set up a new research team with a view to developing benchmarks and indicators for monitoring and assessing desertification processes on a range of geographic scales. The research team is already engaged in several regional and global networks, providing support to policy makers at a European level and beyond. It also provides scientific support for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) ten-year implementation strategy and reform process. The Commission's renewed interest in desertification and 'dryland' science is beginning to produce results.
Africa is home to some of the most valuable natural ecosystems and species on the planet. Worldwide, more than 16 000 plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. The monitoring of Africa's 741 protected areas (representing over two million square kilometres, i.e. nearly half the total area of the EU) plays a vital role in biodiversity protection, conservation and the sustainable management of natural resources.
The EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) has developed a statistical modelling tool which allows the risk of conflict occurrence in developing countries to be analysed. Combining online news reports with geographical satellite data, the tool establishes a link between natural resources and the risk of conflict. A key advance is the very detailed scale of the data (most being gathered to the square kilometre) and the fact that the modelling is based on the seriousness of the conflicts. When tested, the model successfully identified the correlation between resource-rich areas of land and occurrence of conflict. This approach has potential use in the European Commission's development aid planning and crisis prevention.
The latest satellite technologies offer a vital tool in the battle to eliminate illegal logging from Africa, while at the same time helping to ensure food security and sustainable development and improve international disaster relief efforts across the continent, the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) was told today.