NEREUS, under the auspices of the Belgian Presidency of the EU, held a conference debate on “The future of GMES after 2014 from a regional perspective”, on 1st December 2010.
The event, held in the scenic castle of Latour de Freins, gave the opportunity to NEREUS to present the network to European and Belgian officials, build relations with the Belgian space community and other European stakeholders. The debate also provided a lively forum for discussion around enhancing the political dialogue with European officials and national governments.
The conference was opened by Mr. Pascal Goergen. He welcomed the participants and expressed the importance of the event within the work programme of the Belgian Presidency of the EU, in the second semester of the 2010.
The moderator of the event Mr. Peter Sanders welcomed the first speaker Mr. José Contente, Regional Secretary for Science and Technology of the Autonomous Region of Azores. He focused on the operability of GMES with regard to the priorities of European regions.
Chair of Sky and Space Intergroup, Mr. Vittorio Prodi, MEP related the position of GMES to wider issues on the agenda of the European Parliament such as measuring and adapting to climate change. He stressed the great potential of satellite observation in developing existing technology towards coping with the effects of climate change. He suggested that satellite applications had a key developmental role in this challenge. He stressed the importance of the role of regions in increasing the uptake of existing GMES technologies and identifying and developing new GMES-based solutions to issues affecting them.
Mr. Mauro Facchini, deputy head of the GMES bureau at the European Commission, gave a presentation outlining the role of the Commission in extending the use of GMES. He particularly referred to the potential for regions to increase the visibility and importance of GMES to the institutions.
This view was expanded by Mr. Josef Aschbacher of the European Space Agency, who underlined the regional dimension of the use of GMES applications.
Prof Alan Wells from the University of Leicester, East Midlands, gave a presentation of one of the results of the NEREUS GMES Working Group. He presented the recent publication, ’25 Uses of GMES in the NEREUS Regions’ as a vehicle for demonstrating tangible examples of GMES use in the domains of civil emergency planning and land, atmospheric and maritime monitoring.
Mr. Alain Bénéteau, NEREUS President, presented the NEREUS network to the participants, describing the breadth of expertise within the network and how it operates within the European framework. He presented the DORIS_net FP7 project, involving 11 NEREUS regions, as an example of successful cross-regional collaboration.
The event concluded with a debating session involving all the speakers who took questions from the floor.
The evening ended with a cocktail and a networking session.