Many issues are addressed on a regional basis.
Particular examples include environmental protection, climate adaptation and resilience, security and stability issues, infrastructure development and optimization.
Within Europe, a number of regional collaboration frameworks exist including regional environmental protection and management agreements (e.g. the Helsinki Convention, the Black Sea Convention, the Barcelona Convention and Mediterranean Action Plan, the Carpathian Convention), regional security cooperation fora (e.g. RACVIAC, CeCLAD-M) and regional scientific programmes (e.g. Baltic Earth, Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance). In addition, for many regions in Europe a dedicated strategy has been developed and agreed in cooperation with the European Commission. These address environmental issues, socio-economic issues and sustainable development in each region. These regional strategies address the Alps, the Black Sea region, the Danube region, the Baltic region and the Atlantic region.
At present, the use of EO within these regional level activities is quite low. This is due to a number of factors including a requirement for customized processing of the EO data in each region, a requirement for fusion of a range of diverse datasets, modeling capabilities etc and a lack of familiarity by many of the regional actors with satellite Earth Observation.
To address these issues and expand the uptake of Earth Observation, ESA is starting a number of Regional Initiatives. To start with, these will address the following geographic regions:
- Black Sea/Danube/Balkans
For each region the following developments will be implemented:
- Development of the required platform and processing resources. This will build upon existing resources within each region (platforms, collaborative ground segments, processing resources etc) including both EO and non EO data, models, databases etc. It will address gaps in access to priority datasets as well as capabilities to undertake the necessary processing, fusion and analytics
- A set of Earth science developments. These will utilize state of the art processing and analysis capabilities within the region to better integrate EO derived information within priority Earth science research programmes in the region. These will address the entire range of Earth system processes in each region including regional climate processes, characterization of regional sources, sinks and exchange processes for the main biogeochemical cycles, regional tectonic and solid Earth processes and coupling between different geophysical processes and phenomena
- A set of EO application developments. As for the Earth science developments these will utilize state of the art processing and analysis capabilities within the region to embed EO derived information into operational regional monitoring, assessment and planning activities. Examples include enhanced environmental monitoring and assessment, improved management of natural resources in the region, support to regional programmes (e.g. economic development, security and stability, climate resilience) and support to regional infrastructure development activities.
In addition, for each region, a Project Office will be put in place to take care of stakeholder engagement, promotion and communication actions linked to the ESA developments and providing feedback from the stakeholders in the region on evolving priorities to be addressed by the various ESA funded developments.
The priority activities for each region will be based on a road map agreed with stakeholders from the region as part of a dedicated workshop. Regular follow-on workshops will be organized in each region as the ESA funded developments progress.