Delta plan for Africa can be supported from space

Delta plan for Africa can be supported from space

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Netherlands – How can the knowledge available in the area of satellite data use for water management purposes be strengthened in Africa? This is the central question that will be tackled by an international gathering during a seminar from 23 to 25 September at ITC in Enschede.

Most of the surface water in Africa is found in the large cross-border rivers, such as the Nile and the Zambezi, which sometimes flow through more than 10 countries. The water capacity (discharge) of such rivers should be used not for competitive purposes but as a catalyst for regional cooperation.

During the seminar “Earth Observation for Improving Water Management in Africa: Developing Human, Technical and Institutional Capacity” that will be held from 23 to 25 September 2008 at the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), scientists, water managers from Africa, and staff from knowledge centres will be tackling the question: How can the knowledge available in the area of satellite data use for water management purposes be strengthened in Africa? The seminar will be opened by Ethiopia’s Minister for Water, His Excellency Afsaw Dingamo.

Water managers in Africa urgently need reliable information on the use and availability of water. Data acquired from space can partly meet this need. To satisfy this demand for information, good synchronisation is required between water managers, who must indicate their specific information needs, developers of the data-gathering satellite systems, and the knowledge institutes that must transfer their knowledge on collection and dissemination to users. All these aspects will be covered during the seminar. Likewise, participants will explore how knowledge of data collection and dissemination can be incorporated in training courses for ministries and in the education programmes of universities.

Representatives from international organisations and programmes will be taking part in the seminar; water managers from various basin organisations concerned with such rivers as the Nile and the Congo will present their specific information needs; international scientific organisations such as ESA, GEO, AGRYHMET, UNESCO and EUMETSAT will clarify the current state of affairs regarding satellite systems; and various European and African knowledge institutes, including ITC, RCMRD and Waternet, will present their views on how local capacity with respect to information provision and earth observation can be strengthened.