In his opening address, Jean-Yves Le Gall stressed the close ties that France and Morocco have forged in space since the signature of their framework agreement in 2015. In particular, he pointed to the joint organization of the meeting of heads of space agencies in Marrakesh during the COP22 conference a little over a year ago, which highlighted the key role of satellite data in managing water resources, and to the One Planet Summit held in Paris last December, where at CNES’s initiative the world’s leading space agencies decided to set up a Space Climate Observatory (SCO) to pool climate data acquired from space and make them readily available to the international scientific community over the long term.
CNES’s President then emphasized the value and success of the European Copernicus Earth-observation programme in giving the international community vital environmental science data to track and support socio-economic activities and preserve natural balances. Recognizing the considerable importance of enabling easy access to Copernicus data, CNES has developed its PEPS Sentinel Product Exploitation Platform to offer users in France high-performance access to the more than 12 terabytes of data being generated every day by the programme and to lay the foundation for Copernicus Data and Information Access Services (DIAS).
He also recorded another key space event for Africa, “The African Chapter” of the second International Space Forum (ISF) organized by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in February in Nairobi on the theme of space science and academia for development in Africa, and underlined the recent adoption by the African Union Commission (AUC) of the GMES and Africa project to encourage sustainable management of water and natural resources using Earth remote-sensing data and technologies.
Concluding his address, Jean-Yves Le Gall said: “Today, I am proud to point to some very concrete applications of Sentinel data, from topographic mapping in Ethiopia with cloud-free Sentinel-2 imagery and monitoring of water resources in Uganda with satellite altimetry measurements to collection of agricultural statistics and food crisis forecasting in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, also using Sentinel-2 data. I would like to stress the crucial role that Morocco is playing as a relay for Africa, notably for the development and dissemination of new applications. I would also like to most warmly thank His Majesty Mohammed VI for inviting IAF to organize a global conference (GLEC 2019) on space for emerging countries in Morocco next year with support from CRTS.”