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You are here: Home / News / Commission and EEA sign agreement to provide detailed information on land cover in Europe

Commission and EEA sign agreement to provide detailed information on land cover in Europe

The European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission (EC) have signed an agreement to provide information on land cover in Europe, compiling data from land, air and space. The agreement was signed on May 25, during a Green Week event in Brussels.

Information from the GMES land monitoring service can be used for real-time environmental stewardship, providing early warnings of potential disasters and environmental damage. All kinds of public authorities can use the tool to develop strategies to tackle challenges such as climate change, deforestation, river pollution, soil erosion or urban growth. Using the latest technology in this way allows us to get an increasingly accurate picture of complex and interconnected environmental problems.

Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency

Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA, and Mr Heinz Zourek, Director General for the EC Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry, signed the Delegation Agreement contracting the EEA to implement the initial operations of land monitoring services from 2011-2013.

Land monitoring will be carried out under the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative for Earth Observation launched by the EC and the European Space Agency (ESA). The objective of GMES is to monitor the state of the environment on land, at sea and in the atmosphere, improving the security of citizens in a world facing an increased risk of natural and other disasters.

“Information from the GMES land monitoring service can be used for real-time environmental stewardship, providing early warnings of potential disasters and environmental damage,” Prof McGlade said. “All kinds of public authorities can use the tool to develop strategies to tackle challenges such as climate change, deforestation, river pollution, soil erosion or urban growth. Using the latest technology in this way allows us to get an increasingly accurate picture of complex and interconnected environmental problems.”

The GMES land monitoring services will provide detailed information on land cover change from local to global level. Data will be sourced from satellites developed by the European Space Agency, as well as from national earth observation missions.  These will be complemented with data from in situ sources such as airborne and land-based sensors. Land monitoring will provide information on urban areas, forests, grasslands, wetlands and water bodies as well as other natural resources.

The EEA will manage a €20 million budget over the three-year period 2011-2013 to coordinate technical implementation of the continental and local GMES land monitoring services. The EEA will work closely with the Joint Research Centre who will be responsible for coordinating the global component of the GMES land monitoring services. 

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