Within the framework of the German EU Presidency, a conference on the European initiative Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) is taking place on Tuesday in Munich. Together with Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen the Federal Minister of Transport Wolfgang Tiefensee opened the conference titled "The Way to the European Earth Observation System GMES - Munich Roadmap".
"GMES ensures independent access to information relating to the environment, climate change and security and it delivers efficient and reliable services. It is our goal to create the general conditions for stable and sustainable GMES control and finance structures during the German EU Council Presidency, together with the Commission, ESA and all our other European partners", said Mr Tiefensee.
GMES is a joint initiative of the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA). With the help of observations and data collection via satellites, measuring devices on the ground, on ships, buoys and aircraft, it is designed to provide information services on climate change and support in the event of natural disasters, starting in 2008.
The project is currently in its deployment phase. The three services in the areas of Land Monitoring, Marine and Emergency Response will be implemented first. More, for instance Atmosphere and Air Quality Monitoring will be added. The work on developing and coordinating the necessary space and ground infrastructure is making good progress.
"With the help of GMES information we can monitor and forecast global environmental changes and develop relevant measures at an early stage. Civil emergency installations are very much dependent, for example after earthquakes, floods, maritime accidents and other disasters, on the timely availability of up-to-date mappings for situation assessment and mission support of emergency services. Environmental, planning and transport authorities also profit to a high degree from efficient and reliable GMES services: Sustainable urban planning, for example through reduced land consumption or building in risk zones is supported by GMES.
But the industry, too, is an important user of earth observation and needs reliable sources of information on the environment as a basis of decisions. Other users include agriculture and forestry, fisheries, the telecommunications industry, the insurance sector and the field of transport", stated Mr Tiefensee.