Policy Makers Endorse Earth Observation Policy for the IGAD Region
Policy and decision makers of various government bodies, environmental institutions and experts of the IGAD region and beyond, endorsed an Earth Observation Policy. They gathered for the Second Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) (MESA IGAD) at the Villa Portofino Hotel – Kigali, Rwanda on 20-21 February 2017. The meeting was convened to critic a draft Earth Observation Policy and Assessment Report for IGAD that arose from the lack of a harmonized and coherent policy framework for Earth Observation (EO) data in the region.
MESA, a continental project has continued to focus on the use of EO data for Africa as a whole, while in the IGAD region the concentration is on products and services derived from the same in the three thematic areas namely; Land Degradation Assessment, Natural Habit Conservation and Forest Monitoring Services.
Mr. John Ntaganda the guest of honor and Director Rwanda National Meteorological Agency and Permanent Representative to WMO in his opening remarks stated that, "As policy and decision makers, it is our responsibility to work in synergy through harmonized strategies, sound and informed decision making in order for our countries and ultimately our continent to achieve sustainable development."
During the official opening of the two day meeting, Dr. Debalkew Behre, representative of the IGAD Secretariat said, “IGAD will continue to be at the fore front in bringing together partners at all levels global, national, and local and of all actors – from governments, NGOs, the private sector, civil society and community groups, ordinary citizens – in collaborative efforts towards sustainable development and environmental improvement.”
The African Union was represented in the meeting by Mr. Jolly Wasambo who emphasized on the need for African decision and policy makers to work together in the spirit of Pan-Africanism in order for a common goal for creation of safe environments and inclusive growth.
The workshop is part of the key activities under result area 4 of the MESA-IGAD grant which seeks to strengthen political and policy development frameworks in order to make decision and policy makers more aware of the role that Earth Observation can play in making policy and planning decisions within the broader environmental sector.