The development and uptake of Earth observation (EO) data, information and knowledge is critical to improving the socio-economic status of the African continent. The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Member States and Participating Organizations in Africa recognize the need to improve and coordinate observation systems across the Societal Benefit Areas in Africa. Strong advocacy of open data-sharing policies and practices, as well as for increased use of EO data and information, are the foundation of moving forward in these vital areas. Similarly, focusing significant effort on building human, institutional and technological capabilities will ensure that all parts of the African continent benefit from better access, understanding and use of EO data, products and services. From these products and services information can be derived to better inform decisions to realize environmental and science and technology related African agendas.
AfriGEOSS is an Initiative of the African community in GEO aimed at providing a coordination framework and platform for Africa’s participation in GEO. In addition it is a:
- Pan African initiative to raise awareness on EO;
- framework for strengthening partnerships within Africa;
- gateway into Africa for international partners; and
- support mechanism for the implementation of GEO objectives and programmes in Africa.
The AfriGEOSS objectives are to:
- Provide the necessary framework to initiate Africa focused mutual activities within the scope of GEO;
- Coordinate and bring together stakeholders across Africa to reduce duplication of efforts;
- Foster the participation of Africans in GEO by linking GEO activities initiatives in Africa;
- Enhance Africa’s capability to access, use and manage EO for informed decision making;
- Develop a strategy for accessing and disseminating Earth observation data in Africa.
- Contribute to the implementation of the African Space Policy and Strategy; and
- Advocate for the uptake of EO in decision making to realize the African aspirations.
Activities for the period
In its Implementation Plan, AfriGEOSS identified six key Action Areas:
- Continental and Regional Coordination – to undertake coordination at national (establish national GEOs) and regional level;
- User Needs and Applications: Initially focussing on:
- Food Security and Agriculture (through AfriGAM); Sustainable Forest Management; Water Resource Management (through AfriWRM); and Sustainable Urban Planning and Growth; Land Cover for Africa (Working Group on Land Cover for Africa) and AfriGEOSS Soil Moisture Mapping and Agricultural Outreach Support Project.
- Data and Infrastructure;
- Coordinated Earth observation satellite data over Africa; and
- Coordinated in-situ observations network for Africa
- Capacity Building:
- Develop Action Plan including resources for implementation; and
- Development of an Inventory of capacity building institutions, capabilities and programmes offered.
- Resource Mobilisation:
- Establish a Coordination Team with an Action Plan;
- Develop a framework for consideration by Caucus Members indicating where and how institutions can contribute towards the identified budget line items; and
- Investigate the requirements and programmes of various funding agencies such as the African Renaissance Fund and the African Development Bank
- Communication and Outreach:
- Develop communication strategy including resources for implementation;
- Undertake routine communication activities including website maintenance, newsletters, brochures participation and exhibiting at relevant events; and
- Hold the annual AfriGEOSS Symposium;
- Through coordination of activities in the African continent, the Initiative aims to strengthen efforts geared towards the uptake of Earth observations in evidence based decision-making; to build synergies and reduce duplication of efforts; and
- Promotion and awareness on the value of Earth Observations for decision making, through engagement with policy structures in the continent, building on already undertaken engagements and decisions, such as that by the African Union (AU) 26th Ordinary Session, 1st Session AU Specialized Technical Committee on Education, Science & Technology, 3rd African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Joint Ministers of Science, Technology & Innovation, Education and Training, and AU-European Union Summit.
- A feedback mechanism with African political structures, in particular those who have taken decisions on AfriGEOSS, will be developed, to assess progress made in implementing decisions informed by Earth observations.
- The AfriGEOSS Initiative is mainly implemented through in-kind resources from Members and Participating Organizations contributing to the Coordination Teams, Task Forces, Working Group and the governance structures of AfriGEOSS;
- The resource mobilizations action area aims to mobilize cash resources to support and strengthen the available in-kind resources; and
- South Africa has committed resources through a secondment to GEO Secretariat for 2017.
Members: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, in partnership with Canada, China, European Commission, Spain, United States
Participating Organizations: AARSE, ARCSTE-E, ASREN, CRTEAN, EIS-Africa, RECTAS, RCMRD, UNECA, in partnership with GOFC-GOLD, GRSS and UNEP
Others: Botswana, COMIFAC, Namibia, OSS and Swaziland.
Linkages Across the Work Programme
Flagships: GEO BON; GEOGLAM; GFOI.
Initiatives: African Geochemical Baselines; Climate Change Impact Observation on Africa’s Coastal Zones; Global Urban Observation and Information; GEO Wetlands Initiative; Land Cover and Land Cover Change; Oceans and Society: Blue Planet.
In addition synergies are envisaged with some of GEO Foundational Tasks such as GEONETCast Development and Operations, GCI Development, SBAs process: Systematic determination of user needs / observational gaps, Communication Networks and Reinforcing engagement at national and regional level.
Leadership & Contributors (this list is being populated)
Byron Okubasu Anangwe