Delegation of the European Union to China

EU space programmes to help in disaster risk preparedness: From natural disasters to the pandemic

18/06/2021 - 08:43
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​​​​​​​A Webinar on Copernicus and Galileo Space Programmes to be held on 25 June The European Union (EU) Delegation to the Philippines will showcase EU’s excellence in space science and its applications via the webinar “Beyond the Stars, Reach out to the Skies” on 25 June 2021, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., via Zoom and EU in the Philippines Facebook Page.

In partnership with the Manila Observatory, Earth Shaker Philippines, Alliance for Safe, Sustainable and Resilient Environments, and Philippine Astronomical Society, this webinar is an offshoot of the stargazing and moon gazing events held by EU in the past two years. The webinar will highlight the Copernicus and Galileo space programmes and how these technologies are being used in disaster risk prevention and environmental planning as well as during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The webinar is also a prelude to the launch of the EU-PHL Copernicus Cooperation National Programme in the third quarter of 2021. This space cooperation programme is the first in the Asian region and it is designed to strengthen disaster risk preparedness and climate change adaptation in the Philippines.

EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, will open the event. Mr Giovanni Seritella, Programme Manager for the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to the Philippines will provide an overview of the technologies.

A panel discussion on the benefits of the space programmes -  from disaster preparedness to mitigating the possible impacts of COVID-19 -  will feature speakers  Mr Miguel Exposito Verdejo, Deputy Head of Unit, Directorate General for International Partnerships, European Commission; Minister Orsolya Ferencz, Hungarian Ministerial Commissioner for Space Research, and Dr. Joel Marciano, Director-General for Philippine Space Agency.

“The EU is proud of its space science program and trusts that Earth Observation data can better prepare the Philippines for disasters and climate change adaptation. I believe that in the context of post-COVID recovery, in Europe as well as in the Philippines, there are economic and social spin-off gains in IT infrastructures, knowledge management and skills and jobs using Earth Observation data.” said EU Ambassador Luc Véron.

Copernicus is the EU's Earth observation programme offering information services on a free-to-use basis that draw from satellite Earth Observation and non-space-based data on the ground and at sea. At the onset of the pandemic, the Copernicus programme contributed to an informed and coordinated EU response.

Together with Galileo, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) helped national authorities make informed decisions on how to ease traffic congestions at EU borders caused by measures taken to help reduce the spread of the virus. These measures caused traffic congestion and more than 24-hour waiting time for people to return home and for essential goods to cross borders. Copernicus and Galileo also monitored and facilitated the freight traffic at Green Lane border crossings and enabled the efficient transit of critical goods. They provided an interface between border authorities and drivers, feeding content into real time maps.

Copernicus also provided information about the impact of COVID-19 on the environment and the links between climatic conditions and the spread of the virus. Today, the EMS continues to use satellite imagery and other geospatial data to provide free of charge mapping service in cases of natural disasters, human-made emergency situations, and humanitarian crises throughout the world. The EMS has also provided mapping services to the Philippines such as during the eruption of the Taal  Volcano in January 2020 or Typhoon Goni last November.

Besides Copernicus, the EU's Global Satellite Navigation System Galileo - also often termed the “European GPS”, provides accurate positioning and timing information. It is a programme under civilian control and its data can be used for a broad range of applications. With 26 satellites in orbit and their supporting ground infrastructure, Galileo is currently offering three initial services after an extensive testing period: open service, public regulated service, and search and rescue service. These services are also free of charge and are available for citizens, business, and authorities.

For more information about this event, click here.

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