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Earth Observation Initiative in former homeland of South Africa in support to EU activities on land degradation and integrated catchment management


Action plan from NEPAD (New Partnership for African Development) and the 6th Community Environmental Action Programme (EAP) of EU have identified poverty alleviation via rational use of natural resource and ecosystem protection as priority issue. This is particularly sensitive in South Africa because of its political past and the creation of bantustan states where no planning or development policy ever took place and where natural resources (vegetation, wetland, water, soil and vulnerable spring ecosyste ms) are being depleted. The aim of this SSA is to strengthen a multi-task research team currently involved in integrated catchment management programmes and to contribute to EU experience in relevant scientific projects. The catchment of the former Transk ei homeland corresponds to semi-humid/semi-arid vulnerable ecosystems. This pilot action on a site will include activities such as assessing the relevance of current research and available EO tools and data sets to support conservation measures and adequ ate management strategies. Networking with EU teams and African teams embarked on similar research project will be instrumental. Dissemination of results and education will also be a major component of EO-LANDEG, involving local stakeholders, universitie s, school and the community. Land and ecosystem degradation and resource depletion in homelands include interaction between natural (geology, soil, hydrology, climatology) and societal (history, demography, land-use practices) issues. These disadvantag ed regions are thus representative of severely affected regions elsewhere and hence makes an invaluable test area to develop the proposed EO initiative. The direct benefit of EO-LANDEG will be a training centre for EU researchers to whom access will be given to a scientifically speaking very attractive playground, backed by invaluable local knowledge and expertise. It will of direct support to the implementation future FP activities.

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39-43 quai André Citroën -Tour Mirabeau

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