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GMES for Africa: Regional Network for Information Exchange and Training in Emergencies

Final Report Summary - GARNET-E (GMES for Africa: Regional network for information exchange and training in emergencies)

Executive summary:

Recognising the objectives of the global monitoring for environment and security (GMES) and Africa Initiative and specifically the Lisbon Declaration on GMES and Africa, the overarching objective of GARNET-E was to guide a partial realignment of the GMES emergency service in Africa agenda, from technical activities focussed purely on risk reduction and response using European capacities, to those more directed to building sustainable local capabilities leading to real wealth creation in Africa.

Thus, the core focus of GARNET-E was to bring awareness of the GMES emergency management service to Africa, through a 'network of networks' approach, along the priority lines identified under the African Union (AU) and EU 'GMES and Africa' action plan initiative, in joint consultation with the AU. The network contributed to the advancement of the Space Policy agenda in Africa and took the lead in realising the opportunity presented by the action plan for building sustainable African capabilities in disaster management and risk reduction.

GARNET-E showed that the GMES emergency management service has significant potential to serve African users and policy makers, provided that two complementary objectives are met: the integration of African requirements in the definition of regional, national or local services in Africa; and the strengthening and building of regional and local capabilities, in order to allow African users and policy makers to access the Earth observation (EO) derived information provided by the service.

Successful training/information exchange workshops were held in all four regions Africa, with over 200 key stakeholders in the African emergency response community becoming engaged in the network. Communication media and materials have been produced and disseminated and interaction with the international charter has been positive and constructive. Finally, recommendations and feedback has been provided to the GMES and Africa Action Planning process.

A project website (see was made available in English, French and Portuguese, including a forum area and private partner area. Project leaflets and presentations were created and printed in English and French for distribution at GARNET-E workshops; and are also available to download from the public website. A multimedia presentation produced and is available in both web and stand alone versions.

Future opportunities following the completion of GARNET-E include driving the GMES and Africa process (especially through engagement with MESA); better enabling the use of the Charter and GMES products in Africa; and engage the African public and private sectors in the vision for the use of EO.

Project context and objectives:

Recognising the objectives of the GMES and Africa Initiative and specifically the Lisbon Declaration on GMES and Africa, the overarching objective of GARNET-E was to guide a partial re-alignment of the GMES emergency service in Africa agenda, from technical activities focussed purely on risk reduction and response using European capacities, to those more directed to building sustainable local capabilities leading to real wealth creation in Africa.

Thus, the initial focus of GARNET-E has been to bring awareness of the GMES emergency management service to Africa, along the priority lines identified under the AU-EU 'GMES and Africa' initiative, in joint consultation with the AU.

The project partnership was equally balanced between European and African organisations that complement each other both technologically and culturally and which build upon the existing people-networks in Africa. The project activities and the European Community (EC) funding allocation were shared equally between European and African partners, enabling GARNET-E to be driven from the African viewpoint and making certain that real African needs, requirements and capabilities would be truly reflected in GARNET-E activities and results.

The new network contributed to the advancement of the space policy agenda in Africa and took the lead in realising the opportunity presented by the joint AU-EU 'GMES and Africa' initiative for building sustainable African capabilities in disaster management and risk reduction.

The GMES emergency management service has significant potential to serve African users and policy makers, provided that two complementary objectives are met: the integration of African requirements in the definition of regional, national or local services in Africa; and the strengthening and building of regional and local capabilities, in order to allow African users and policy makers to access the EO-derived information provided by the service.

In summary, at the highest level, as stated above, the overarching objective of GARNET-E has been to contribute to the partial re-alignment of the 'GMES emergency response in Africa' agenda, from technical activities focussed purely on risk and poverty reduction and response using European capacities, to those more directed to building sustainable local capacities, leading to real wealth creation in Africa.

This goal is still very valid and has proven to be extremely relevant to the situation in 2012, relating to the engagement of stakeholders in Africa with the European approaches in AMESD, GMES and Africa and MESA.

The goal has been achieved over the two year duration of the project, through the two sub-objectives:

1. to enable the integration of African requirements in the definition of future operation of the emergency response core service in Africa; and
2. to encourage the strengthening and building of regional and local capabilities, to allow African users and policy makers to access the EO-derived information provided by the emergency response core service.

Further technical sub-objectives flowing from these and key to the work done through GARNET-E are:

1. to exchange information, mainly through training exercises, on the operation of the GMES emergency response core service and the international charter space and major disasters; and
2. to improve the quality and efficacy of the GMES emergency response core service itself, through consideration of requirements gathering exercises and the ingestion of in situ data.

GARNET-E is fundamentally about engagement of people and organisations in a development process. Ultimately, the long-term success (or otherwise) of the project will be measured by the likelihood of any future implementation of the GMES emergency response core service in Africa.

In GARNET-E, the management and project performance has been measured annually through the definition and monitoring of success indicators as tabulated below. These indicators were used in GARNET-E as a fundamental management tool at project and at activities level. They have been continuously monitored by the GARNET-E management Steering Board and were assessed annually by the GARNET-E project advisory board.


'To enable the integration of African requirements in the definition of future operation of the emergency response core service in Africa'

Preliminary Measures / Indicators - African requirements to be detailed in Technical Reports and delivered to SAFER.

Schedule: Interim (Year one) Complete (Year two)


'To encourage the strengthening and building of regional and local capabilities, to allow African users and policy makers to access the EO-derived information provided by the emergency response core service'

Preliminary Measures / Indicators - Database of African stakeholders shows engagement of users and policy makers.

Schedule: Bi-annual


'To exchange information, mainly through training exercises, on the operation of the GMES emergency response core service and the international charter space and major disasters'

Preliminary Measures / Indicators - Attendance at GARNET-E regional training and information workshops and Training materials disseminated online and in hard copy

Schedule: Bi-annual (approximately) and in line with workshops


'To improve the quality and efficacy of the GMES emergency response core service itself, through consideration of requirements gathering exercises and the ingestion of in situ data'

Preliminary Measures / Indicators - GARNET-E invited to participate in SAFER mapping workshops for emergency response and demonstration of ingestion of in situ data in SAFER products

Schedule: End year two.

Project results:

The GMES and Africa approach has opened a dialogue between Africa and Europe in the domain of Space and particularly in Earth observation. Initiated through the Lisbon Declaration, this new collaboration for the implementation/adaptation of GMES-related services in Africa could potentially put the objectives of the EU-Africa Strategy into operational practice.

With respect to the current Action Plan, there is a huge opportunity for African institutions to improve their ability to deliver on their daily mandates by partnering with European organisations. The GARNET-E 'network of networks' process allowed existing African networking organisations such as AARSE and EIS-Africa, which each have a pan-African role, to work with other sub-regional African organisations which until now had never been part of their respective networks. The new relationships built here will allow the objectives of GMES and GARNET-E to have more impact well beyond the life of the project itself.

GARNET-E was successful particularly in the disaster management arena, where prior pan-African efforts initiated by United Nations (UN) Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) and UN Platform for Space-based Information for disaster management and emergency response (UN-Spider) have now extended to a regional level with a strong growth potential. It also highlighted the diversity in the levels of technologies and capacity, as future challenges highlighting the importance of strengthening and building regional and local capabilities in the use of Earth observation data/information in disaster management and emergency response. The role of EO-data/information here in assessing the existing maps and their importance in map revision and use for emergency response was also strengthened. Opportunities to build on this should now be further developed.

Emergency response stakeholders in Africa know little about the possibilities of using satellite-derived information from European programmes. The GARNET-E project was very helpful in this regard, with its ability to disseminate information effectively. African scientific stakeholders have few opportunities to network between themselves, as a result of many factors. The GARNET-E project was helpful in drawing the networks of scientific professionals within AARSE and EIS Africa together, ensuring a legitimate engagement of scientists and practitioners from Africa in the discussion. The workshop format of engagement was particularly effective in achieving both the network formation and the information dissemination goals. The GMES and Africa process should now learn from this success and enable its future activities to develop using similar approaches.

Putting networking African institutions, such as the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE) and EIS Africa, as active participants and partners guaranteed that the key African disaster risk and environmental players in the regional communities were well represented. Approaching the user community institutions such as these merely to sit in conferences or workshops would not have been enough, but empowering them to play their role (as major actors, rather than as spectators) succeeded and is the way forward. This must be a lesson to future EU projects in Africa. Furthermore, the bodies of professional scientists in Africa welcomed the opportunity to participate on a pan-African scale in the GMES and Africa approach.

The GARNET-E process similarly allowed the European partners to engage with both recognised and new African institutions which are now well-placed and competent for any future engagement. The genuine trust that has been created between the African and European partnership can only be beneficial to any future activities within the monitoring of environment and security in Africa (MESA) framework.

The partners and other stakeholders engaged during the last two years all felt that the fact that GARNET-E was a real, active project making GMES and Africa concrete was fundamental to the development of inter-continental collaboration. The messages are clear, precise and overwhelmingly positive, the community of practice can only benefit in maintaining such forums.

It was an honest, transparent process which not only built individual capacities but also built institutional capacities. Consequently, in order to be further beneficial to most practitioners in the long run, it is very clear that capacity building should be an integral part of the overall GMES and Africa content and must be adapted to the different entrance levels.

At the technical level, we have demonstrated the importance of close user interaction. Continued discussion with local experts has the further potential to improve the GMES service. Benchmarking of different algorithms between different partners has provided valuable feedback from African partners about the needs and the usability of the map products.

Thoughts on the GMES and Africa action plan process

There is a wide perception in the emergency response community in Africa that the high-level GMES and Africa process has not yet reached any of the challenging, original set objectives. Comments on the reasons for this apparent stagnancy of the GMES & Africa action plan recognised the difficulty in resourcing (including financial considerations) and the consequent lack of broad consultation across all pertinent African communities and/or a misalignment with genuine African requirements and the adaptations needed to facilitate self support and autonomy. There also seemed to be a disconnection between the political processes and the practical application processes.

The GARNET-E community in Africa suggested furthermore that Europe had failed here to act in a clear, coordinated fashion. The main actors in the European Union are the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission (EC), Eumetsat and the Joint research Centre (JRC) and all appear to be following their own agendas, in Europe and Africa. This makes it difficult for Africa to orient itself in the subsequent discussion. A clear policy directive and its coherent implementation are still missing, but urgently required. In parallel, the European space industry has a role to play to ensure a consolidated policy vision on which it can act efficiently towards an emerging market in Africa.

It is very clear that there continues to be a huge need for more training and awareness in the use of EO for emergency response and disaster management. Most stakeholders in Africa want more support and ask about any potential extension of the GARNET-E process. In retrospect, the two year duration of GARNET-E originally requested by the partners was too short and perhaps should have been extended by a year (particularly in light of the delays to the overall GMES and Africa process). Also the costs associated with travel within Africa were higher than anticipated and this should be better budgeted for if any future similar activities are planned.

We must look therefore, at how to sustain and build upon the information exchange and networking activity of GARNET-E within GMES and Africa. In due course, MESA may well be an appropriate vehicle to undertake part of this action, alongside the overall and higher level GMES and Africa process. Such an activity must take into account present activities such as GARNET-E and continue the work started here. Networking activity around the disaster management issue is still underutilised and often practitioners at a local level are unaware of training opportunities and access to data (especially use of the charter), etc.

Eastern, northern and southern Africa show immense technical strength relative to other regions in Africa, especially the central areas. This regional strength must be exported to the other regions to build capacity there. It is important to target such sustainable development by:

1. improving the capacity development exercise, by setting up 'zonal offices' (e.g. Training or Research Centres) with the assistance of EU to undertake training workshops and capacity building for national stakeholders in each country, in addition to the regional workshops; and
2. increasing the number of authorised users of the international charter space and major disaster in Africa (we suggest at least two in each country).

The model of regional offices also has value if data access and dissemination is to be addressed successfully. The national agencies also have to be strengthened - there is still a need for individual, infrastructural and institutional capacity building in all countries.

So, the platform for dialogue established by GARNET-E for the emergency response community in Africa needs to be continued. Reacting to the shortcomings in the provision and sharing of data, as well as the building of capacity to integrate EO with other geospatial data needs to be undertaken. Main technical issues mentioned at the GARNET-E workshops to be addressed include:

1. coordinated data access; and
2. capacity to provide conditioned information products/services.

The problems still are local capacity, data access and data availability.

In view of advent of the GMES Sentinel satellites and the accompanying GMES services offerings, the centralised repository of data may create further challenges in dissemination as well as globalisation, while as pointed out before, every region has its own challenges. What is needed now is a clear, easy to access, single point of contact, that risk/emergency management in Africa can use for liaison in anticipation of disasters and when disasters strike.

Sustainable access to adequate EO data in general and for emergency management data in particular, remains a key issue in Africa and has been frequently highlighted, as EO products for disaster management must be timely, as well as of high quality, particularly in the immediate event response phase. However, a bigger handicap identified by GARNET-E is the creation of base sets which are yet not available in many African countries. We identified a lack of EO-data even to undertake case studies in some African countries. These data sets need to be maintained and updated frequently so that they can be used for change detection in case of a real emergency event, but also as tools for modelling and preparedness outside the event phase.

Funding for such activities remains an issue, of course. Insufficient operational funds are available, not only for the data provision itself, but also for building critical local expertise in EO-data processing, as well as funding to undertake validation/field exercises in Africa.

Suggested actions for the EC

Within the scope of the Action Plan, the GARNET-E network community suggested the following actions for the EC.

In general:

1. fund the next phase of GMES and Africa in a way that is truly inclusive, using the capacity in Africa and building upon the capacity in Africa
2. encourage the AU, using Bragma, to further develop links to the end-user and networking organisations and supplement a top-down policy approach with a bottom-up requirement exercise
3. set up a number of capacity building activities and ensure data access for African users, with development of transfer protocols and/or receiving stations in Africa
4. maintain follow-up efforts (eg. use MESA, based partly on the AMESD model) and enhance the emphasis beyond the necessary academic capacity building towards a more operational level
5. carry on the trend to regionalisation, as most challenges are unique to the regions
6. devise and further develop measuring tools, to assess the impact and the progress of their efforts and be flexible enough to redirect resources as potentially needed
7. support the implementation of emergency response services (GMES-related) in Africa, by funding collaborative projects
8. encourage EO-data providers to assist the stakeholders in developing countries in data acquisition and processing.

Specifically, with respect to the GARNET-E experience:

1. consider how to implement a further phase of the GARNET-E Project; learning from the prior GARNET-E experience of successful engagement with a wide community of African stakeholders; and
2. ensure that the work of GARNET-E is not lost and that there is a mechanism to continue supporting the Afro-Euro partnerships developed.

Suggested actions for the Commission of the AU

Within the scope of the action plan, the GARNET-E network community provided the following thoughts regarding the engagement of the Commission of the AU:

1. the AU must ensure that adequate attention is paid to risk/emergency management in further implementation of GMES and Africa and MESA
2. the AU should note that many challenges persist, like lack of data, know-how, language etc. as well as political will and commitment
3. the knowledge gap from practitioner to decision makers remains and needs to be reduced. If the AU, through their different regional platforms could identify ways to overcome such hurdles, perhaps through pan-African structural and funding mechanisms, the goals of real 50-50% partnership between EC and AU can be obtained
4. sensitise the governments of African nations on the need to include the use of EO data/information in their national development policies
6. the Commission of the AU should strengthen its capacity to participate in future events and activities, such as the previous GARNET-E workshops, so that they can correctly represent the opportunities at a pan-African scale
7. the AU Commission should consult and listen to the African space centres, experts and networking organisations, such as AARSE and EIS Africa
8. recognising the discussions during meetings and workshops, it is recommended that the AU Commission engages support by African experts for the implementation of the GMES and Africa action plan and strengthens the communication with the African member states.

Technical considerations

At a more detailed and technical level, the GARNET-E partners, working together, have made the following points that could be added or emphasised in the action plan, for future developments (this list is not definitive and includes existing and new ideas):

Capacity building:

1. Training of local institutions (EU-Africa) (Institution)
2. Training in ways to exploit EO data, interpretation, etc. training could be provided by EU space sector companies/organisations working with local African partners for multiple applications (e.g. disaster management - preparedness and response; agricultural monitoring - rangeland and cropped areas; urban monitoring - urban spread planning; environmental monitoring - protected areas onshore and offshore etc.)
3. Focus on the long-term involvement of EU and AU institutions to ensure sustainability, by bridging the gap from emergency response to development
4. Setting up of zonal offices (EU-Africa) (Infrastructure) by possibly including ground station infrastructure, for receipt of data within regional footprint; training local staff in EO exploitation techniques (EU-Africa) (Individual); and 'reverse' capacity-building (African-EU) (Institution)
5. Involvement of recipient nation organisations in the creation of tender specifications for projects related to their countries. Resulting heightened EU awareness of genuine national/local concerns, potentially leading to more appropriate projects with a higher likelihood of success.

Integrated collaboration with African organisations in all African-related GMES and MESA projects: (EU-Africa):

1. Improve GMES/MESA communication between EU and AU organisations through the creation of dedicated section within the Commission (possibly a commercial contractor)
2. Identify emergency response service AU ambassadors who would present on behalf of the GMES EU-AU community, to 'spread the word in Africa
3. Raise awareness amongst EU partners of the development of SDI's amongst AU partners
4. Address the subject of licensing of both GMES-related geospatial data and the licensing of national, institutional and commercial datasets from AU partners as a primary concern of any future MESA activity.

Greater access to GMES-related geospatial data:

1. Extensive amounts of geospatial data created in the GMES emergency response service (Safer) has been archived to an FTP folder managed by JRC under the GIO-EMS. Access to this data should be made readily available and easily accessible to AU partners, subject to resolution of any outstanding licensing issues.
2. Greater access to EO data via International Space Charter (EU-Africa) (Institution).

Overcoming the lack of BASE topographic datasets:

This is seen as a parallel and probably more important issue than the lack of access to EO data. It was recognised during the analysis of SAFER and Respond map products that national datasets should be used for Emergency map products to ensure accuracy of toponymy (this assumes of course that national datasets have sufficient coverage and currency). Potential solutions (at least in part could come from the following sources:

1. OpenStreetMap (International). Constraints can include inconsistent coverage, scale and quality of capture and attribution; possible negative reaction from National Mapping Agencies in Africa, as traditional custodians of geospatial data. (e.g. NMA's often have military origin and consider 'open access' a threat to national security). Benefits can include open license approach avoids access constraints caused by conventional data licensing (empowers local populace to take ownership of local data); de-classified international military mapping e.g. MGCP (International). Constraints include requirements of identifying and contacting source government who mapped AOIs, no assurance of release; potential licensing constraints (will vary from 'supply' country to 'supply' country. Benefits include wide coverage, especially in Africa; consistent quality standards for capture and attribution; many leading EU geospatial organisations are familiar with MGCP and can assist in explanation of material to African partners.

National mapping agencies (national)

Constraints can include incomplete and out-of-date data; costs of accessing data; licensing constraints on use and dissemination of data. Benefits can include recent mapping programmes (e.g. Ethiopia), often supported by EU funds, provide up-to-date data; rngagement of NMAs as partners in GMES/MESA initiatives.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Whilst not a perfect source for data (it mostly address national and regional scale datasets), it is one that should be considered nevertheless, given its applicability to disaster response. UNOCHA are engaged in a major drive for data preparedness and have set up the principle of common operational datasets (CODs). They are also keen for NMA's to adopt a policy of data preparedness and to provide national datasets for inclusion into the COD repository.

Shared mapping activities between EU space and geospatial sector organisations and African national partner organisations (EU and national partners).

The analysis of SAFER and respond emergency mapping revealed areas where local input was needed to improve the content of emergency map products (e.g. national datasets, as base data; and current situation information, as damage assessment and auxiliary data).

Specific recommendations regarding the implementation of MESA

The African Monitoring of Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD) program will come to an end in June 2013. A new 37 million programme (MESA) will bridge the previous AMESD with the ongoing GMES and Africa action plan initiative. The implementation of MESA will start in 2013 and run until 2018.

Since its inception in 2007, the AMESD program has taken the Preparation for the Use of Meteosat Second Generation in Africa (PUMA) a step forward by extending the use of Earth observation technologies and data to environment and climate monitoring applications. MESA, likewise, will build on the results of AMESD to address the needs for improved management of natural resources and environmental security towards sustainable development in Africa, at continental, regional and national levels, including all sub-Saharan African countries.

This is supposed to be achieved by providing infrastructural support, including upgrading and maintenance of receiving stations and information and data management. MESA aims to consolidate and further develop information services in the thematic areas that are addressed by AMESD, with the inclusion of new thematic areas such as climate services and forest information. Promotion of cross-fertilisation of environmental monitoring services and applications among the five partner regions should be one of the main objectives of MESA. In addition, strengthening of policy development frameworks and capacity building are key components of the programme.

Monitoring of soil and water conditions for agriculture, tracking forest degradation and desertification, providing information to policy and decision makers in order to lessen and/or adapt to effects of climate change and reducing the risks of natural and human made disasters, for example, are all areas where MESA will bring added value.

MESA is funded by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). It was formally approved by the EDF Committee in December 2011.

The programme will be implemented under the coordination of the AU Commission, which has been delegated by five regional economic communities and by the African Caribbean and Pacific Secretariat to act on their behalf as Delegated Regional Authorising Officer. The EU Delegation to the AU is the lead delegation for the management of the programme.

The GARNET-E network community has provided the following thoughts regarding the implementation of MESA:

1. Regionalisation and build-up of local expertise should extend beyond the AMESD model, deeper into user communities and into additional countries
2. MESA should work with the existing professional networks in Africa, including but not limited to AARSE and EIS-Africa
3. MESA must deliver concrete results in terms of accessibility of contact points and access to relevant information
4. MESA must not re-invent the wheel, providing European solutions that fail to recognise local capability hence fail to meet the real need in Africa. It should build on the capacity that exists already in the continent, extending that local capability.

As recommendation: the implementation of MESA should:

1. be user-oriented
2. make use of medium to high-resolution EO data (not be restricted to low-resolution meteorological data); and
3. include a substantial component on capacity building (technical and academic). Morevoer, it should:

1. Strengthen linkages between EU and AU actors in MESA in research and development (R&D) domains (for improved MESA services between EU and AUC researchers); in operational domains (the RIC's are becoming small operational PAF's and can use some support to make their PAF's more operational); in the private sector; and in academic domains (guidance to stand-alone training courses).
2. More collaboration is needed between MESA and the GMES Initial Operations Projects (GEOLAND/MyOCEAN/SAFER) and their follow-on activities.
3. MESA should support Curriculum Development initiatives for GIS and Remote Sensing in African Universities (to lead to a broader mass of people being trained in GIS and RS).
4. Setup EUMETCast Receiving Stations for Academic and Research Institutes in Africa.

Better Activate/Integrate DMU (Disaster Management Units) in MESA.

1. Partnerships based on mutual professional respect, transparency and accountability, as displayed by GARNET-E, should be the model for any EC/AU(AUC) MESA implementation
2. Real local-level capacity building is essential.
3. Access to (near) real time in-situ and remotely sensed data is vital.

Potential impact:

Three policy objectives (sustainable development, common foreign and security policy and the Lisbon strategy) highlighted in the FP7 Cooperation Work Programme for Theme nine (Space) were identified. Each of these will be impacted by implementation of the GARNET-E network of networks. In particular for GMES and specifically for the cross-cutting activity of international cooperation, the use of space applications can contribute to the economic and social development of third countries, as well as supporting environmental protection. In the framework of the European Development Policy, space applications such as Earth observation have been recognised as a central tool to support Africa in its sustainable economic and social development.

The focus of GARNET-E on Emergency Response offered a 'quick-win' for the GMES and Africa action plan - a significant proportion of the individual products to be delivered from the GMES emergency response core service (through the SAFER project and subsequently) are directed at African crises. These products have been specified by European DGs, NGOs and United Nations (UN) bodies. An early impact of GARNET-E has been the recognition of requirements directly from African users. These requirements were systematically fed into SAFER and could still directly influence the future production of preparatory and rapid-response emergency mapping by GMES. The subsequent communication of this effect will considerably enhance the overall recognition in the European Commission, in Africa and throughout the EO community of the potential of the GMES and Africa initiative.

In the slightly longer term, provided the GMES emergency service is enabled to learn from the GARNET-E experience, it is also to be expected that the quality of the emergency products made for Africa will further improve. By the end of GARNET-E, understanding within the GMES (SAFER) product development teams of the specific issues related to the ingestion of in situ data for African products led to more accurate and higher value products. Validation activities were also enhanced through engagement with the owners of relevant African geographic data sets. However, this benefit may now be lost, as the ongoing service is not provided by the SAFER team.

GARNET-E built upon existing people-networks in Africa (notably through the AARSE and EIS-Africa communities), extending their geographic reach and enabling closer cooperation with European actors. During the duration of GARNET-E, the AARSE and the EIS-AFRICA major events included dedicated GARNET-E sessions. These activities and other activities were strongly coordinated, creating a very strong 'branding' for GMES, in the African environment.

Many African countries are affected by natural disasters (flooding, seismic events, drought and famine are main examples) and as a consequence, risk and emergency management are important aspects of sustainable development. These activities are generally carried out by public organisations; however increasingly, support to such vital activities can be provided from the private sector. This is especially true of mapping activities. GARNET-E helped to build capacity in Africa, particularly in small, private (SME) organisations, through knowledge transfer form European GMES projects and associated training. Such capacity building has been a fundamental objective of GARNET-E. Many African universities now deliver courses associated with risk and disaster management and geography departments also increasingly include modules associated with remote sensing, or Earth observation. Hence, students graduating from such institutions often have an awareness of the capabilities of satellites to support humanitarian intervention during crises. The African GARNET-E institutional partners (such as RCMRD, CSIR, CRTS and RECTAS) are associated with their local universities and are the continental leaders in the use of Earth observation in the response to disaster situations. Their objective is to disseminate this expertise throughout their local communities, gradually building expertise in both the public (mainly user) and the private (mainly supplier) sectors. In addition, the European partners' overall aim has been to support capacity building of organisations in developing countries through the training of individuals in the collection, management, analysis and dissemination of spatial information before, during and after disaster events, for reducing impacts of natural and related environmental and technological hazards. GARNET-E thus succeeded in educating the relevant African communities in all pertinent issues associated with the operation of the international charter Space and Natural Disasters and the GMES Emergency Response Core Service, through the provision of dedicated training materials and resource; the local African partners will now lead the delivery of further training locally and will enhance the materials with information and experience specific for the African situation.

The concept, therefore, of GARNET-E has been to construct 'needs-driven' activities. These activities continue to be an inherent and coherent part of a joint strategy with other GMES and Africa action plan initiatives. They should not be just 'for', but 'with' Africa and with due respect for African ownership.

The GARNET-E project being a CSA, its dissemination activities differ substantially from those of a Research project, insofar that it does not generate scientific results which are then published.

On the other hand the coordination and support nature of the project places emphasis on communication activities in order to develop awareness of the project itself as well as of the wider objective it supports: the possible Emergency Management component of the GMES for Africa initiative.

The GARNET project, having had since its design the objective to develop a network of networks, communication has always been considered a key tool to reach this goal.

Considering the transnational and cross-border/continent nature of the project, it has endeavoured to develop communication tools that would ensure that language barriers would not hinder the communication activities. This is why the two main communication tools of the project, the project leaflet and the website, have been developed not only in English, but also in French and Portuguese, in order to ensure appropriate coverage of the linguistic diversity of the African continent.

During the course of the project five mai communication / dissemination tools have been used: a website, a project leaflet, a multimedia presentation (MMP), a press kit and workshops/events.

The GARNET-E Website - The project website has been conceived as a key tool to foster the development of the GARNET-E network of networks. To this end it has been developed as a one stop shop for the Emergency Management component of the GMES and Africa initiative.

It has been populated with non technical and easily accessible information in the three languages (EN, FR, PT). It contains information about the Project, about GMES, about the GMES emergency service (as developed by the SAFER project), links to all relevant websites, all the project publications in a downloadable format, a FAQ section as well as the GARNET-E multimedia presentation (described in detail hereunder). A regularly updated News section has also been developed in order to generate traffic. Content has also been optimised in order to account for the limited availability of high bandwidth internet connections in many African countries.

The results of the website activity, as materialised by its traffic statistics, have been quite encouraging, especially in view of the specialised nature of the project:

1. Around 3 000 visitors (as of 25 June 2012) of which 50 % were unique visitors
2. Over 10 000 pages viewed
3. An average visit duration of close to four minutes and 3.41 pages per view on average (very high figures for this type of website).

The geographical coverage has also been quite good and has enabled the project to build awareness in most African countries.

The project website will remain online for a minimum of one year after project end and ways and means of recycling some of its content will be discussed with ongoing and future GMES for Africa projects.

The GARNET-E leaflet has been developed as an informative and professional publication, in an attempt to reflect the institutional objectives of the project and the importance of its stakeholders.

It has been translated and laid out in French and Portuguese and printed (glossy) in French and English (500 copies). The GARNET-E leaflet has been distributed at all the project workshops as well as at other relevant events.

The multimedia presentation - The DVD/MMP contains:

1. A presentation of GMES (and its GMES & Africa element)
2. A presentation of SAFER and GMES emergency management service
3. A presentation of the Charter
4. A presentation of the GARNET-E project
5. Product examples for the following types of products, namely floods, fires volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, humanitarian crises, landslides and manmade disasters and technological accidents. Products examples illustrate, whenever available, the activities of SAFER or predecessor projects; the international charter and African partners.

The GARNET-E MMP is an interactive digital presentation of audio, video and textual material. It can be accessed over the internet or made available for offline viewing in an exported package. The underlying technology which powers the MMP is Adobe's Flash.

There are two distinct components of the GARNET-E MMP in its current version (v1.0 November 2011). The first is a standalone version. Both versions contain a selection of product examples showing the range of emergency response products used in an African context, drawing on SAFER and precursor projects as well as other sources, such as the international charter for Space and Major Disasters and WAMIS. The products are organised into categories based on eight disaster types: fires, floods, storms, earthquakes, humanitarian crises, volcanoes, landslides and manmade disasters.

The 'products' section can serve as a stand-alone presentation, if necessary. However, it is complemented by a second component (the 'home' section) which serves as a 'wrapper' and provides background and contextual information about the GARNET-E project, the GMES programme and the Emergency Response Service and the International Charter, as well as making supporting documents available for download. Figure 1 shows the top-level slide (or Home page), indicating the additional 'Home' section components. From the Homepage, the various sub-sections can be accessed either through the drop-down menus or by clicking the buttons. The large image entitled 'Sample Emergency Response Products' leads to the 'Products' section.

The GARNET-E MMP has been distributed to the participants of the project's final workshop and made available to project stakeholders and to the general public through the website. The second component is the embedded into the project website.

The Project Press Kit - The project has produced a professional press kit that has been used by the partners to generate awareness and to promote the objectives and achievements of GARNET-E. The press kit contains several reference or rapid mapping products developed by the SAFER project.

The GARNET-E promotional activities have resulted in a number of publications in project-relevant websites. A few examples include the website, the Africa and Europe Partnership website, the EIS Africa newsletter and the UN-SPIDER portal.

GARNET-E workshop and events - GMES information exchange

Within GARNET-E, four separate regions are considered: north, east, south and west Africa and the aim is to address stakeholders in each region, with capacity building led by regional project partners and supported primarily by ITC, DMCii on Charter and ITUK on GMES issues. Together a training plan was devised that included separate training events: short-term workshops for decision makers and more extensive technical for technical staff of relevant stakeholder organisations in the region. To achieve maximum reach and, to spend financial project resources prudently, it was also decided to attach principal capacity building activities to major regional conferences.

The first training event was organised to link with the 8th International Conference of the African Association for Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE) that took place from 25 to 29 October 2010 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

From 29 to 30 March 2011, the CSIR Satellite Applications Centre (SAC) (recently renamed to SANSA Space Operations) hosted the second GARNET-E workshop for SADC representatives in Broederstroom, South Africa.

During the first 24 months RCMRD has conducted a range of GARNET-E capacity building measures, both to increase the number of RCMRD staff to provide train and to professionals from the region.

Between 19 and 24 September 2011, a West Africa / WP33 Workshop took place at the campus of RECTAS in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

The GARNET-E North Africa Workshop was hosted by CRTS in Rabat, Morocco on 13 and 14 March 2012 for disaster risk managers from both the North and West regions of Africa.

Engagement with African organisations

The following are some of the major accomplishments:

1. dissemination of information and knowledge relating to the GMES and Africa Emergency Response initiative through monthly newsletters and regular alerts
2. incorporated keynote speeches and/or presentations in various local and international conferences
3. empowerment of individuals and identification of conference, meeting and training opportunities, since the project team identified and compiled a contact list of Experts and Stakeholders in the field of Emergency Response, Disaster and Risk for Africa; empowered 140 key individuals and organisations to participate in GARNET-E workshops in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria and Morocco and regional agencies including NEPAD, UN-SPIDER and SADC Secretariat also attended the workshops.
3. Engagement with public and private African entities to promote the GMES included use of the bi-annual AARSE 8th conference and exhibition to disseminate information and knowledge related to the GMES and Africa Emergency Response initiative to all its members; engagement with South Africa and other Southern Africa Development Community Countries; engagement with Northern and Western countries through workshops in the respective regions.

List of websites: