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Bridging Actions for GMES and AFRICA

Final Report Summary - BRAGMA (Bridging Actions for GMES and AFRICA)

Executive Summary:
The “GMES & Africa” initiative establishes a long-term partnership between European and African stakeholders, according to the Lisbon Declaration, to work together on the development and implementation of Earth Observation (EO) applications based on African requirements. The process is implemented in the context of the Africa-EU partnership aiming for sustainable development and increment of scientific cooperation.

GMES & Africa strengthens Africa’s capacity and ownership of EO activities and acknowledges the importance of past and present programmes, recognising the need to coordinate actions to avoid duplication, increase synergies and enhance complementarities.

“Bridging Actions for GMES & Africa” (BRAGMA) aimed at providing support and facilitating the necessary dialogue to implement the GMES & Africa process, through improved coordination, adequate information flow and dissemination, strengthening the partnership via the following actions:

• Keep building momentum for the compilation of a “GMES & Africa Action Plan” (GAAP) through development, validation and reviewing processes;

• Reinforcing the coordination group of stakeholders and entities responsible for leading the initiative and contributing for in-loco support aligned with the implementation mechanisms agreed in the GAAP;

• Supporting the role of the Expert Team (defined by the “GMES and Africa Strategic Document” at Hammamet, November 2010) on a sustainable basis;

• Promoting and creating wider international awareness of results and likely impact of relevant FP7 projects and current and planned “GMES & Africa” related activities;

• Facilitate the capacity for selected African experts to attend key coordination events and conferences;

• Organise “GMES & Africa” major awareness events in Africa;

• Provide reviews of how GMES services could contribute to needs identified in the GAAP;

• Develop synergies with the existing EO activities in Africa to build blocks for the implementation strategy of GMES and Africa.

BRAGMA supported the GMES and Africa process in order to achieve tangible results in response to the Action Plan of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy (JAES), namely to the Space component of the 8th Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space, for which recommendations for an implementation plan will be submitted at the 4th EU-Africa Summit to be held in Brussels during Spring 2014.

Project Context and Objectives:
“GMES and Africa” derives from the consensus reached during the Lisbon Summit, in December 2007, on the need to define a common programmatic view for EO activities in Africa, acknowledging the Maputo Declaration (2006) which called upon the extension of the European EO programme Copernicus (formerly GMES ) to Africa. The Lisbon Declaration on “GMES and Africa” and the respective Lisbon Process proposed guidelines to launch the partnership and described actions to be undertaken to produce the “GMES and Africa Action Plan” (GAAP). The initiative is an essential part of the Space component of the 8th Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space, and contributes to the fulfilment of the objectives of the JAES Action Plan.
Figure 1 (GMES & Africa, GAAP and BRAGMA Timeline) provides an overview of the main steps taken since the launch of the process in December 2007 until the next Africa-EU Summit, including BRAGMA’s support to the initiative.

(Figure 1)

In parallel with the 7th EUMETSAT User Forum in Africa (Accra, October 2008), African and European Stakeholders agreed on the composition of a Coordination Team (CT) who established the Terms of Reference of the GAAP. To prepare this Action Plan a first draft baseline study was initiated in a “GMES and Africa” meeting at JRC in Ispra, in March 2009, subsequently developed and submitted at an e-consultation in May 2010. This first draft of the GAAP and the results of the Consultation were discussed by the Coordination Team in Cairo, during July and August 2010 and it was agreed that it would be used as baseline information to develop the Action Plan. A GAAP consultation took place at the end of August 2010, in Addis to validate the themes and cross-cutting issues (frameworks) of the Action Plan (Figure 2). The guidelines and roadmap to finalise that Action Plan were drafted and endorsed in November 2010 in the Hammamet High Level Document during the GMES and Africa side event to the 3rd Africa-EU Summit. The extensive work performed by African and Europeans in favour of the process was acknowledged by the High Level Document; however progress in achieving the objectives of the Lisbon Declaration had been very slow.

(Figure 2)

Figure 3 illustrates the GMES & Africa mechanism, where BRAGMA Project has had an important role over 2012-2013, albeit a transient one.
The Coordination Team was established in 2008 and the Space Troika in 2011. The Consultation Team of experts were involved in the thematic workshops that took place throughout the BRAGMA project, being the major contributors to the content of the chapter, as well as leading the consultation process through the establishment of working groups at the workshops, and compiling the outputs of these. Funding mechanisms available to the GMES & Africa process include European Development Funds (EDF), Horizon 2020, the JAES Support Mechanism, the European Space Agency, as well as African funding programmes.

(Figure 3)

In order to capitalise on the investment in the process so far and to achieve tangible results by the end of the 4th Africa-EU Summit, a modular approach was proposed by the Space Troika (established in July of 2011, to steer the Space component of the 8th partnership) to re-launch the process and pave the way to validating the overall GMES and Africa Action Plan. The methodology consisted of identifying three thematic areas to be firstly addressed by organising continental-wide workshops in Africa. The GMES and Africa Coordination Team adopted the Space Troika recommendations including the identification of the thematic areas and respective locations for the workshops: (1) Marine and Coastal Areas in Kenya, (2) Water Resources Management in Nigeria and (3) Long-Term Management of Natural Resources in Egypt and a validation workshop to take place in South Africa.

Project Results:
During its duration the BRAGMA project adjusted its objectives several times according to the state of play of the GMES and Africa process since its main objective was to support the development and sustainability of the process. At the BRAGMA kick-off meeting it was agreed that the original project proposal would have to be modified to take into account a main constraint: the project was not the starting point for the implementation of the GMES and Africa Action Plan (GAAP), but it would instead pave the way to launch an implementation which would take place after the project’s closure.

Much of the effort of the project was focused on the organisation of the 3 thematic GMES and Africa Workshops and the final consolidation-validation Workshop, as these workshops were of utmost importance for achieving African ownership and endorsement of the process. The successful completion of these workshops at a pan-African level also contributed to the GAAP’s future implementation, through the endorsement of three thematic chapters. The success of the workshops was reflected in the results achieved, allowing representativeness of the deliverables.

Figure 4 links the BRAGMA project’s objectives with the main results achieved:

(Figure 4)

The main goals of this project are translated in the following objectives, which are linked by their support to the development of GAAP:

O1: Support Coordination and promote wider awareness by organising key coordination events and conferences and facilitating the participation of selected African stakeholders at relevant events
BRAGMA supported the GMES and Africa Coordination Team that is responsible for steering the initiative. The project also assured the appropriate information flow between the various entities involved in the initiative, thus assuring circulation of information. BRAGMA facilitated the participation of African experts, complementing financial mechanisms which allowed the attendance of over 350 experts to GMES and Africa related events.

O2: Connect and disseminate information among the various networks associated with the GMES and Africa partnership
BRAGMA was actively engaged with existing and newly launched networks involved in space applications at global, continental, regional and national levels, in order to maximise the impact of the general GMES and Africa framework.
The dissemination activities included the intense use of the website, social networks, and e-collaboration tools, as described in section 4.1.4.

O3: Support the effective development, conclusion, endorsement and implementation of the GAAP
BRAGMA supported the GMES and Africa process to conclude three selected thematic chapters of the Action Plan: Marine and Coastal Areas, Water Resources Management and Long Term Management of Natural Resources.
During the Consolidation-Validation workshop, for the first time at a plenary session, the two cross cutting issues of Infrastructure and Governance were discussed, with the objective of providing the framework for supporting the implementation of the Thematic Actions. However, as these discussions merely represented an initial approach to these two cross-cutting issues, they will be subject of further discussions in the future; namely the discussion on Governance will be highly relevant for the future implementation and coordination of the initiative.

O4: Support a coherent strategy between Europe and Africa by building synergies with existing GMES and Africa related projects and programs
BRAGMA established contact with GMES and Africa related projects and initiatives in order to find synergies, avoid duplication, and try to understand how to boost the outputs of these projects and initiatives in the framework of the GMES and Africa initiative. BRAGMA ensured that during all technical meetings key persons from these projects were invited, thus opening channels for synergy and cooperation.

O5: Provide annual reports on effective contribution of GMES services and ongoing decoupled Earth Observation (EO) initiatives and projects to fulfil the needs identified in the GMES and Africa Action Plan
The final version of project Deliverable 3.3 “Reports on how GMES Services could fulfil GMES and Africa” was submitted, listing the various services developed by EU-Africa cooperation projects using EO data for the three thematic applications selected as first deliverables of the GMES and Africa Action Plan.

O6: Identify, support and facilitate the scope and definition of high priority projects within the GAAP context
The main pre-requisite for accepting the GMES and Africa Action Plan with its prioritised implementation actions was that these would only be recognised if they underwent a consultation process in Africa by way of pan-African Workshops, which took place during the BRAGMA project.
These workshops identified and endorsed the high priority projects of each of the GAAP chapters under discussion (Marine and Coastal Areas, Water Resources management and Long term Management of Natural Resources), resulting in a pan-African endorsed implementation plan for each of those thematic areas. The Consolidation-Validation workshop held in October 2013 led to the endorsement of these priority areas and implementation plans that were addressed in the three thematic workshops throughout 2012 and 2013, organised under the BRAGMA project. In this context and during the Consolidation-Validation workshop, BRAGMA has initiated the discussion on the cross cutting issues including governance and infrastructure.

Results of the Thematic Workshops and the Consolidation-Validation workshop:

Marine and Coastal Area: GMES and Africa Priority Products
• Operational coastal sea level, coastal circulation and coastal sea state
• Operational biological productivity (data, analysis, imagery and mapping)
• Coastal sensitivity and vulnerability Atlases and state of environment reporting
• Ship traffic situation and maps
• Regional weather forecast systems
• Real-time Disaster Warning Systems
• Mapping of coastal Land use and nearshore coastal and marine habitats
• Mapping marine and coastal ecosystem services

Water Resources Management: GMES and Africa Priority Products
First priority is the continental scale level:
• Provision of a core set of continental scale EO-derived products covering different components of the water cycle at low spatial (approx. 1 km) but higher temporal resolution (once per day) e.g.:
Precipitation, potential and actual Evaporation, Soil moisture, Rivers and (ephemeral) stole water levels
• Basic meteorological products and short-medium range outlooks;
• Water quality monitoring in large lakes:
Temperature, suspended sediments, chlorophyll;
• Integration of some products to:
Derive regional scale water balances;
Facilitate regional scale hydrological modelling.

Management of Natural Resources: GMES and Africa Priority Products.
• Land Cover & LCC maps for Africa (Standardised format/different scales)
• DSS for long-term NRM strategies in Africa (Integrated approach (satellite, in-situ); GIS-based system for biodiversity monitoring management and environmental law enforcement (habitats maps, LC/LCC maps, environmental gradients, disturbance assessment, resource zonation etc.)

Potential Impact:
BRAGMA supported the GMES and Africa process in order to achieve tangible results in response to the Action Plan of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy (JAES), in relation to the Space component of the 8th Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space, for which recommendations for an implementation plan will be submitted at the 4th EU-Africa Summit to be held in Brussels during Spring 2014.

Earth Observation (EO) is recognised as a tool for the support of sustainable socio-economic development. EO derived applications are considered a valuable contribution for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since they provide useful information for a wide range of areas including water management and management of natural resources, marine and coastal areas desertification, climate monitoring, conflict prevention, amongst others.

GMES and Africa aims to provide a framework for long term African-European cooperation in the development and implementation of operational EO services based on African needs for sustainable development. GMES and Africa will make tools available to inform, support, and monitor the implementation of policies addressing the above-mentioned key societal areas.

The outreach activities of BRAGMA contribute to raising awareness regarding GMES applications for Africa and Europe. The project strongly supported the establishment of a cooperative platform comprising EO experts, data providers, users and policy makers investing in the use of space technology for sustainable development. BRAGMA also contributed to a coordinated and coherent strategy between Europe and Africa, building synergies between GMES and Africa related projects and initiatives. Through project dissemination and consultation actions, including a survey to relevant international cooperation projects (Annex 1), initial common interests were identified and prioritised for future collaborative EU-Africa projects within the GMES and Africa Action Plan.

Due to BRAGMA’s initiative, GMES and Africa is now widely recognized by the EO community in Africa as a major programme providing potential for cooperation in research, commercial applications, and development policy. GMES and Africa Roundtables took place at the 9th Conference of the African Association for Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE) in El Jadida, Morocco, 2012, and at the AfricaGIS and Global Geospatial Conference 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The El Jadida Declaration of AARSE declares and calls on the African Union and Member States to promote GMES and Africa as a priority programme under the continental consensus provided by AfriGEOSS (the Africa Chapter of GEO). The AARSE2014 Conference will be held in South Africa; a one-day event for African parliamentarians on the potential of EO applications is planned to precede the conference, taking note of the Roundtables organized by BRAGMA in 2012 and 2013.

BRAGMA's main objective was to bridge actions between the different stakeholders involved in the GMES & Africa process. The communication established and supported by BRAGMA targets various levels from the political to the technical, aiming to reach the end users and general beneficiaries. In this sense the project carried out numerous dissemination actions according to different targets, which contribute to the evolution of the GMES and Africa process.

Dissemination actions were the core activity of BRAGMA and can be identified in the following 3 groups:

(a) supporting the coordination of the GMES & Africa process
BRAGMA always conveyed the State of Play in order to disseminate the development of the GMES and Africa Process.
In this context BRAGMA participated in and contributed to monitoring meetings which took place throughout the BRAGMA project: JEG8 - Joint Expert Group Meetings of the 8th Partnership of the JAES, EEG8 - European Expert Group of the 8th Partnership, Space Troikas and EU-Africa Task Force meetings.
BRAGMA organised and contributed to the GMES & Africa Coordination Team meetings, which has been driving the process since its establishment in 2008.
The above described dialogue platforms were permanently informed of the work performed by BRAGMA.

(b) supporting the organisation of the development of the GAAP
CAPACITY4DEV PLATFORM In order to support the organisation of the 4 workshops, all available information was shared in a transparent and accessible way, with all the documents produced being uploaded promptly. The platform provided the opportunity for members to insert other relevant documents for the thematic area under discussion during the respective Workshop. It also allows interactive Forums for discussion.
BRAGMA Website The portal communicates BRAGMA and GMES & Africa events, as well as publications, newsletter, videos, articles, and other media material.
E-PLATFORM The E-Platform provides a location to share documents with members of the platform. Workshop material is shared through this platform, as well as general information on GMES & Africa, BRAGMA, and upcoming events.

(c) Keeping the momentum and raising awareness

Eight newsletters were produced throughout the BRAGMA project. The first newsletter, published in May 2012, gave an overview of the BRAGMA project, announced the kick-off meeting and the CT meeting held in Lisbon in January 2012, as well as future meetings.

The second newsletter, published in January 2013, reported on the BRAGMA side events at the IST Africa conference in May 2012, and at the AARSE conference in November 2012, as well as BRAGMA’s participation at the EUMETSAT User Forum in October 2012. It also gave an overview of the results of the first GMES & Africa workshop on Marine and Coastal Areas, which was held in Kenya in October 2012.

The third newsletter (March 2013) focused on the synergies between BRAGMA and other GMES & Africa-related projects and provided information on the BRAGMA online platforms.

Newsletter 4 (July 2013) provided a more in-depth analysis to the GMES & Africa-related projects.

Newsletter 5 (September 2013) reported on the second and third GMES & Africa workshops on Water Resources Management, in Abuja, Nigeria, in May 2013, and on Natural Resources Management, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in June 2013.

BRAGMA’s 6th newsletter (October 2013) disseminated the GMES & Africa video produced by the JAES SM at the Natural Resources Management Workshop in Egypt. It also reported upcoming relevant conferences where BRAGMA will participate, such as the AfricaGIS 2013/GSDI 14 Conference, and provided an overview of the BRAGMA website and the information that it provides.

Newsletter 7 (November 2013) reported on the results of the Consolidation-Validation workshop, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, October 2013.

BRAGMA’s final newsletter (December 2013) presents an overview of the GMES & Africa process, its past and future.

• Empowering Africa through shared solutions” by International Innovation (pg. 43-45)
• Windows on GMES – in press
• Poster presented at the ESA Living Planet Symposium, Edinburgh, Scotland, 9-13 September
• Paper presented at the AfricaGIS 2013

VIDEO: A video was produced by the Communications & Event Coordination of the JAES SM with the support of BRAGMA. The video provide a perspective of the whole GMES and Africa Process with a focus on the Long Term Management of Natural Resources Workshop in Sharm El-Sheikh, where it was filmed

(d) Exploitation of Results
In summary, the results of the BRAGMA project have:

(i) created awareness of the GMES & Africa initiative, not only through the GMES & Africa workshops, but also at other BRAGMA events that have taken place over the two years at different conferences and events;
(ii) developed and endorsed the three priority chapters of the GMES & Africa Action Plan, the Marine and Coastal Areas chapter, the Water Resources Management chapter, and the Natural Resources Management chapter. The two cross-cutting issues, Governance and Infrastructure, were also addressed at the Consolidation-Validation workshop in South Africa.

Given these results, and taking advantage of the awareness of the GMES & Africa initiative that has been raised by BRAGMA’s activities, it is important that effective coordination mechanisms are put in place for the GMES & Africa process, in order to ensure that the proposals that were endorsed at the GMES & Africa workshops between 2012 and 2013 are implemented in the following years.
The momentum that has been built up with the completion of three of the nine thematic chapters should be continued, through the development of the remaining six thematic areas of the GMES & Africa Action Plan. These are: (1) impacts of climate variability and change, (2) natural human induced disasters, (3) food security and rural development, (4) infrastructure for territorial development, (5) conflicts and political crisis, (6) health management issues. The cross-cutting issues that should be addressed in parallel are (1) policy and institutional framework, (2) infrastructure framework, (3) capacity building, (4) financial issues, (5) monitoring and evaluation.
Taking advantage of the awareness raised by BRAGMA’s activities, dedicated events, such as GMES & Africa Roundtables, should be organised to promote the role of GMES and Africa and to encourage EO activities in Africa.

Throughout the BRAGMA project, the GMES & Africa Action Plan (GAAP) has been developed through the African workshops, which have aimed to gather experts from the respective thematic area and to develop and endorse the respective thematic chapter. At these workshops, working groups were defined and studied an aspect of the chapter, reporting back to the plenary session and thus directly impacting the development of the Action Plan chapter.
The continuity of these working groups should be explored, so that they may be involved in future developments of the GMES & Africa initiative and Action Plan. Most of the members of these groups, who participated in the BRAGMA GMES & Africa workshops, have already signed up on the online platform at Capacity4Dev, and so receive regular notifications and updates from the platform, and are able to keep abreast of recent events and updates. It would be important to take advantage of this important asset, empowering the networks that have been created throughout the BRAGMA project, and giving these working groups a role in the futures implementation steps.
To capitalise on the experience from the workshops, it is important to analyse the cost-benefit of different approaches to developing the Action Plan chapters, comparing these alternative approaches with the approach that was employed, namely the use of workshops.

These alternative approaches have been outlined in deliverable 3.4 “Contributions and long-term strategy of cross-cutting issues and thematic working groups to the initiative”, and include:
(A) Ad-hoc working group: This approach consists of driving the working group (WG) activities through a series of workshops
(B) Secretariat-driven working group: This approach consists of establishing a secretariat which acts as a central source of information and focal point, and who is responsible for the progress of the nine thematic working groups, gathering information and producing a clear overview of efforts and outcomes.
(C) Combined approach: This approach starts by carrying out the development of thematic issues through workshops and continues the implementation and follow-up of the GAAAP under the auspice of a secretariat.

The practical experience gained by BRAGMA throughout the project, namely in the organisation of the GMES & Africa workshops, can be exploited in the future for the development of the remaining chapters of the Action Plan, whether through the use of workshops, which creates bonds between participants, or through an alternative, more cost- and time-efficient approach.
The benefits associated with the implementation should be a key result from the priority actions and should become clear and recognised by the relevant beneficiaries that they impact.

The priority actions of the three GMES and Africa thematic areas identified with the support of BRAGMA represent a key outcome of the project and which should be exploited during the implementation of GMES and Africa, in order to bring visible benefits for the partnership in the scope of EO applications for sustainable development in Africa.

List of Websites: