Establishment of Humanitarian and Early Warning Mechanisms in Africa
Hailu Wudineh
28 February 2018
The African Union Commission and various stakeholders and partners have been discussing the establishment of integrated and continental Humanitarian and Early Warning Mechanisms in Africa,
at a workshop which ran from 26 to 28 February 2018, in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of the workshop was “African Union: A Decade of Humanitarian Action (2016-2025)”.

The GMES & Africa Programme Coordinator and Space Science expert, Dr. Tidiane Ouattara, briefed participants on the potential contribution of Earth Observation through the GMES & Africa Support Programme to early warnings in Africa. The GMES & Africa Support Programme provides Satellite-derived information for the management of water and natural resources as well as marine and coastal resources management in Africa.

An overview of Early Warning Systems in Africa, the contribution of Earth Observation to early warning through the GMES & Africa Support and MESA Programes, conflict early warnings, synergies and the collaborative role of early warning services formed the agenda for discussion. The workshop culminated in an integrated strategy to address humanitarian action for the year 2016 to 2025 in Africa. 

Participants from African Union Commission, The IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC), African Union Conflict Early Warning (AUCEW), Conflict Early Warning (CEWARN), West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), ECOWAS Warning & Response Network (ECOWARN), Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNet), UNOCHA, WFP, IFRC, and IOM are attending the workshop.

About the GMES and Africa Support Programme

GMES and Africa Support Programme is a 30 million Euro joint programme co-financed by the European Commission and the African Union Commission. The Programme will use and adapt the Copernicus Programme data and services to the African context. It is designed to specifically respond to African needs with respect to services related to water, natural resources, marine and coastal areas and to address the global needs to manage the environment, and ensure civil security. It is to enable the implementation of the African Space Policy and Strategy, formulated to harness the continent’s capabilities in utilizing space science and technology for economic growth and sustainable development. In the implementation agreement, the African Union Commission is the ‘delegated authority’ responsible for the management of the programme. 

GMES and Africa Support Programme aims to improve African policy-makers’, planners’, scientists’, business and private sector and citizens’ capacities to design, implement, and monitor national, regional and continental policies and to promote sustainable management of natural resources through the use of Earth Observation data and derived information. 

Unlike prior Earth Observation Progrmammes, the GMES and Africa introduces four key innovations: The inclusion of the North African countries; the programme is managed entirely by the African Union Commission; the engagement of African private sector and academia; it uses data from Copernicus Programme.