End of the GMES&Africa - North Africa "Strengthening Data Access and Sharing Practices" regional workshop - September 20 to 22, 2021


End of the "Strengthening Data Access and Sharing Practices" regional workshop co-organized by the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) and the National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS) was held in Tunis (in hybrid - semi-face-to-face mode), from September 20 to 22, 2021.

H.E. Mr. Nabil BEN KHATRA, Executive Secretary of the OSS and Mr. Mohamed ZAHRAN, Chairman of NARSS (Egypt) officially opened the works of the workshop, marked by the speeches of Mr. Tidiane OUATTARA, Coordinator of the GMES&Africa program (AUC), Mr. Eric HOA (EUC), Mr. Hédi GASHUT, CEO of CRTEAN and Mr. Sinan BACHA, Director at CNCT.

During the opening session, Dr. Tidiane OUATTARA expressed his satisfaction with the results achieved by the North Africa Consortium and the quality of the organization of this regional workshop despite the constraints imposed by the COVID 19 pandemic. M Eric Hoa, restated the European Union commitment to support the GMES&Africa project on a global scale.

The works of the workshop extended over three days with a review of the GMES&Africa North Africa project achievements, where Earth Observation (EO) data from different space sensors were translated into actionable information through GMES services developed in support of the sustainable management of water and natural resources and coastal and marine areas.

The three sessions of the day emphasized the importance of the GMES&Africa project in dealing with urgent and significant issues with the support of Earth Observation, through the following three (3) topics relating to:

1 / GMES and seasonal agriculture monitoring with the participation of various panellists in physical and virtual modes: the OSS, NARSS, JRC, CNCT, CRDA Jendouba, CRDA Ariana. They shared their feedback and gave testimonies on the interest and importance of the services developed under the project. They recommended that useful EO information be better taken into account to guide policy and decision-making in water and agriculture.

2 / GMES and agricultural water monitoring with the participation of the OSS, CRDA Manouba/CRDA Ariana, CRASTE-LF Morocco) who exchanged their points of view and feedback on various topics related to the water for agricultural use service.

3 / GMES and coastal and marine surveillance with a presentation of the 'NAfCOAST' project by Mrs. Elham Ali (NARSS - Egypt) who highlighted the statistics and figures related to the achievements and results obtained under the project. Mr. Ahmed Osman made a presentation of the portal developed by the consortium, its functionalities and importance for end users and the public, in particular with regard to the dissemination and sharing of information generated from the valuation of Earth Observation resources.

One session was dedicated to the marine pollution monitoring in North Africa, and to the GMES oil spill detection service set up by NAfCOAST.

The session was marked by the participation of Mrs. Sonia Kammoun (CERTE) who presented the NAfCOAST project and the situation (current, evolution, figures) of oil spills as well as the trainings delivered in (Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt) . This service made it possible to detect more than 800 cases over the past 3 years and to provide the information necessary for decision-makers to take action. The development of an alarm system for the detection of oil spills and of models to follow the spread of such events in the future will make it possible to better inform environmental agencies and in particular to create emergency plans. The presentation was followed by speeches from (Morocco, Egypt and Mauritania). The participants then took part in a first round table that made it possible to collect feedback from the project

stakeholders, the second panel discussion allowed them to express their views on the second phase and the possibilities of collaboration within the framework of the project.

The session dedicated to communication and stakeholder awareness raising within the framework of the GMES project was marked by the speech of Mrs. Nadia KHAMMARI, Coordinator of the OSS Communication Department who presented the communication tools developed under the GMES North Africa Consortium. She underlined the intermediary role played by communication between scientists and the public.

Her presentation was preceded by the speech of Dr. Omar Elbadawy who took the opportunity to share the important achievements in terms of communication/awareness of the 'NAfCOAST' project led by NARSS (website, videos, Newsletter, etc ...).

Dr. OUATTARA called for deeper foundations of the communication/awareness activities in order to mobilize the largest possible number of policy makers, end users and beneficiaries. The participants expressed their expectations and made recommendations for a better understanding and a stronger impact of the communication activities.

Along with the workshop, two round tables were also organized, on “Integration of Earth Observation in decision-making in the service area in North Africa” and “The approach to adopt for the second phase of GMES to support sustainable development”.

The workshop ended with the last session on the Roadmap for phase 2 of the GMES project that allowed participants to express their concerns, expectations and recommendations.

The roadmap is meant to be participatory and inclusive so that NO AFRICAN ISNTITUTION IS LEFT BEHIND, according to Dr. Tidiane OUATTARA.

The closing ceremony speeches were given by Dr. Tidiane OUATTARA as well as H.E.Mr. Nabil BEN KHATRA.

The works of workshop were broadcast live on our social networks Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.