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Congo Basin countries monitor climate change with SPOT sat

France: An initiative by the French Agency of Development (AFD) to provide SPOT satellite images to governments, public institutions and NGOs that work for the sustainable management of forests in Central Africa, is helping the countries of the Congo Basin to reinforce their commitment to the prevention of climate change.

The programme for the provision of SPOT images (satellites operated by Astrium), financed by the AFD and implemented by IGN France International (IGN FI), has entered its second phase.

Lauding the deployment of the project in his country, Vincent Kasulu Seya Makonga, Director of Sustainable Development and representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the framework convention of the United Nations on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said, “The SPOT data is an essential information source and its provision provides real added value, especially for the Measurement, Reporting & Verification (MRV) system that we are implementing in the context of REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and the Degradation of forests), as well as for the development of our National Forest Inventory.”

The processing of the satellite images will allow the beneficiaries to be able to more easily analyse these data and to better use them in order to shape their strategic choices. The second phase will contribute to the preparation of strategies for the preservation of forests and the establishment of national climate plans in the countries of the Congo Basin.

Indeed, the forests of the Congo Basin represent 22 percent of forestry coverage worldwide and form a carbon reservoir of more than 56 gigatonnes. Their sustainable development is essential in preventing climate change.

Spatial observation has long been used by professionals in the forestry field as a decision-support tool for the planning and management of forests, inventory work and forest cartography. SPOT satellite imagery combines a large coverage capacity with resolutions spanning from 20 to 2.5 metres, allowing for accurate monitoring of forest coverage. The archive images (from 1990 to 2011) serve as reference data in order to assess the commitments related to REDD+. The acquisition of new images allows for the updating of information over time in order to follow the evolution of deforestation and adapt environmental policies.

Source: IGN France International