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Support Action to GMES-Africa on Earth Observation (SAGA-EO)

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Linking Earth Observation networks in Africa

A recent EU-funded project looked at improving the use of Earth Observation (EO)-based information for environment and resources management in Africa.

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The project, known as 'Support action to GMES-Africa on Earth observation' (SAGA-EO), aimed to establish EO networks at a national level, and to link up existing initiatives in Africa and Europe. The rationale is that using EO data for environmental monitoring is a recognised means of ensuring sustainable economic and social development in Africa. To set up the networks, researchers developed a horizontal model consisting of organisational and technological components. This was then analysed in relevant scenarios in five African countries. The researchers used two scenarios in particular — food security, and flood forecasting and early warning — to confirm the results across the countries. The majority of users (81–96 %) positively evaluated the model from an organisational point of view. These analyses allowed project partners to develop methodology documentation for the implementation of national EO user networks. This methodology has to be adapted to each country. It consists of an initial strategic decision phase, an institutional and technological development phase, and an operational phase. This network approach is an easy and direct way to increase national EO capacities. Structured networks will also result in better efficiency and quality when it comes to each network member's contribution.

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