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User consultation

GlobWetland Africa user consultation

The European Space Agency is launching the GlobWetland Africa project, a major EO application project that will facilitate the exploitation of satellite observations to support effective management of wetlands and the wise use of associated resources in Africa.

In order to best scope the project and its partnership, the European Space Agency has organised, jointly with the Ramsar secretariat, a large consultation to engage key international and African stakeholders in the project. An important milestone in the project preparation has been the GlobWetland Africa user consultation workshop that ESA has organised jointly with the Ramsar Secretariat, at its ESRIN premises, in Frascati, on the 17-18 July 2013.

The GlobWetland Africa project will build on the findings and achievements of its two precursors, the GlobWetland I project (2003-2008) and the GlobWetland II project (2009-2013), with the principal objective to address the wetland conservation and management from a water basin perspective with a strong continental focus, being centered on the African continent. The final and principal goal is to help African countries and international/regional bodies to better assess the conditions of the wetlands under their areas of jurisdiction/study, and better monitor their trends over time. The sustainability of the approach will be achieved through the development of end-to-end software toolboxes that will be installed at the premises of the partner organisations with training and education toolkits.

The project will also prepare for the exploitation of the forthcoming Sentinel satellites of the Copernicus initiative. In particular the Sentinel-2 mission will provide systematic optical observations of all terrestrial and coastal zones, at 10 m spatial resolution; with a swath width of 290 km. Together with its twin satellite it will cover the Earth’s surface with a repeat cycle of 5 days at the equator. The impressive footprint of Sentinel 2 along with the short revisit time and its systematic acquisition policy will allows rapid changes in ecosystems to be precisely monitored and is ideally suited to monitor sensitive habitats such as wetlands. The C-band imaging radar of the Sentinel 1 mission will provide all-weather day-and-night imagery which will be extremely useful for monitoring wetlands in cloudy conditions taking place frequently in the African tropics. The Copernicus sentinel data policy, with its full and open access for all users, is an important incentive that would largely facilitate the uptake of these new technologies by the wetland communities.

The GlobWetland Africa project will also contribute to the establishment of a Global Wetland Observing System (GWOS) in accordance with the Strategic Plan 2009-2015 of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands adopted as COP10 Resolution X.1, and is to be seen as one of the first GWOS pilot projects of the Ramsar Convention, which has a continental coverage.

The GlobWetland Africa project is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2014 and will have a duration of 3 years. Considering that Sentinel 1 is due to be launched in the first quarter of 2013 and that Sentinel 2 has a launch date currently fixed at the fall of 2014, the project will make an extensive use of the most up to date satellite technologies.

The ITT of the GlobWetland Africa project is planned on 2014 Q1/2.


GlobWetland Africa User Consultation: Agenda and Presentations