The European space agency (ESA) will be underlining the importance of space technology for environmental protection at the World summit on sustainable development, to be held in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September 2002. Space applications can contribute to sustainable development by providing information, measurements and quantifications of natural or artificial phenomena. This is exactly the kind of information which GMES, Europe's satellite based Global monitoring for environment and security application, will provide. GMES is a key element of the European space strategy, which forms an agreement between the European Commission and ESA. Along with the GALILEO global satellite navigation system, GMES will also be a major component of the European space policy set to emerge from the EU-ESA partnership. In July, the Commission launched a stakeholder consultation process aimed at defining what needs to be done in order to develop further GMES. 'Defining what the GMES system will look like in the future is not a simple task,' said ESA Director-General Antonio Rodotà at the launch of the forum. 'It must involve all of the players, from researchers, developers and producers to a wide variety of end-users. That is why we're all here today, to hear your views on what GMES should be,' he said. Statements on the usefulness of space technologies and applications for sustainable development have been included in the draft 'plan for implementation' for the Johannesburg summit, which is expected to be finalised at the summit.