Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Program Examined

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    Credit: Credit: ESA

    Europe's Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) program sets out to fulfil needs of European policy-makers, businesses, scientists and individuals to access timely accurate information services. GMES would deliver Earth observation data through a unified system.

Newswise — Collecting environmental information about the present and future of home planet Earth is of critical importance. Space-based systems can help to appreciate how our planet and its climate are changing, the role played by human activities in spurring any global variations, and how such changes might influence our daily well-being.

Now under active discussion is the European Union’s (EU) Global Monitoring for Environment and Security – or GMES program. It is a project to establish a European capacity for Earth observation services, focused on an array of needs - from food and health security to environmental and political security.

Secure World Foundation (SWF) brought together leading experts on GMES to participate in a thought-provoking panel discussion. The conversation was moderated by Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, European Program Manager, Secure World Foundation.

The event, “The Future of GMES” was held February 17 as part of SWF’s Brussels Space Policy Round Table series. These are panel discussions focused on significant global space events with a particular emphasis on Europe and its space sector.

Assuring the right actions

This special SWF program invited specialists to examine the current status of GMES, challenges facing the program, and future opportunities. In addition the overall relevance and importance of GMES was detailed by panelists.

A central element of the conversation was the use of GMES to assure the right actions by decision makers, businesses and citizens, to enable reliable and up-to-date information on how our planet and its climate are changing.

As now envisioned, the sustainability of the GMES operational services is to be ensured through public funding from the EU, intergovernmental agencies, and Member States. Considered as “public goods” these services should be accessible to any organization or citizen.

Among hot-button issues discussed during the round table is the European Commission’s proposal that the GMES should not be included in their next Multi Financial Framework (MFF). Rather, it has been proposed that GMES be funded from outside. This view has sparked contentious debate within the European community as to whether or not GMES can survive if not funded by the MFF.

As expressed by panelists, it is important to raise awareness about GMES to the policy makers and the European community at large. At stake is the prospect for a sustainable, long-term and reliable stream of GMES data and services, information of value to international efforts on Earth observation.

Presentations available

Those taking part in this exclusive panel of authorities included:

-- Josef Aschbacher, Head of GMES Space Office, European Space Agency (ESA) -- Reinhard Schulte-Braucks, Head of Space Research and Development, European Commission-- Geoff Sawyer, Secretary General, European Association of Remote Sensing Companies-- Stephane Ourevitch, Partner, SpaceTec Partners-- Christina Giannopapa, Resident Fellow, European Space Policy Institute

For a view of the presentations from the event, please go to:

Informative conversation

“As difficult as the GMES discussion is, SWF is proud to be a part of continuing and deepening that dialogue,” said Dr. Michael Simpson, SWF’s Executive Director. “It may turn out that having to face such a difficult issue less than two years after the Lisbon Treaty entered into force will enhance the EU’s ability to deal with the particularities of cost/benefit decisions involving the space sector,” Simpson said.

SWF’s Lukaszczyk noted that the GMES panel discussion was one of the Foundation’s most successful events in Brussels, in terms of attendance and the level of discussion. “The informative conversation illustrated just how important this topic is to the European community.”

As a flagship EU space program GMES deserves the attention of those who will determine its future, Lukaszczyk added. “Discussion must continue on GMES and pro/con views for the program must be heard, as the final decision will have consequence of the highest magnitude on the European space program and beyond. SWF is delighted to have helped in this conversation.”

For further information on this event, and the SWF Brussels Space Policy Round Table series, please contact:

Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, European Program Manager, Secure World FoundationAvenue des Arts 8B-1210 BrusselsBelgiumPhone +32 2 545 11 50Fax +32 2 545 11 66Email:

About Secure World Foundation

Secure World Foundation (SWF) is a private operating foundation dedicated to the secure and sustainable use of space for the benefit of Earth and all its peoples.

SWF engages with academics, policy makers, scientists and advocates in the space and international affairs communities to support steps that strengthen global space sustainability. It promotes the development of cooperative and effective use of space for the protection of Earth’s environment and human security.

The Foundation acts as a research body, convener and facilitator to advocate for promoting key space security and other space related topics and to examine their influence on governance and international development.

Secure World Foundation is headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Brussels, Belgium.

For access to the SWF website, please go to:

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