Regional Economic Communities (RECs)
The MESA program benefits 48 African countries. It works closely with the following Regional Economic Communities (RECs) of Sub-Saharan Africa, namely CEMAC, ECOWAS, IGAD, IOC and SADC.
CEMAC: The Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS; (French: Communauté Économique des États de l'Afrique Centrale) is an Economic Community of the African Union for promotion of regional economic co-operation in Central Africa. It aims to achieve collective autonomy, raise the standard of living of its populations and maintain economic stability through harmonious cooperation.
ECOWAS: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional group of fifteen countries, founded in 1975. Its mission is to promote economic integration in "all fields of economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, social and cultural matters .....
IGAD: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa was created in 1996 to supersede the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) which was founded in 1986. The recurring and severe droughts and other natural disasters between 1974 and 1984 caused widespread famine, ecological degradation and economic hardship in the Eastern Africa region. Although individual countries made substantial efforts to cope with the situation and received generous support from the international community, the magnitude and extent of the problem argued strongly for a regional approach to supplement national efforts.
IOC: The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is an intergovernmental organization that was created in 1982 at Port Louis, Mauritius and institutionalized in 1984 by the Victoria Agreement in Seychelles. The IOC is composed of five African Indian Ocean nations: Comoros, Réunion (a department of France), Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. Notwithstanding their different characteristics (Reunion as a French department; Mauritius and Seychelles as Middle-Income Countries whereas Comoros and Madagascar are amongst the Least-Developed Countries), the five islands share geographic proximity, historical and demographic relationships, natural resources and common development issues.
SADC: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been in existence since 1980, when it was formed as a loose alliance of nine majority-ruled States in Southern Africa known as the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), with the main aim of coordinating development projects in order to lessen economic dependence on the then apartheid South Africa. The founding Member States are: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
SADCC was formed in Lusaka, Zambia on April 1, 1980, following the adoption of the Lusaka Declaration - Southern Africa: Towards Economic Liberation. The transformation of the organization from a Coordinating Conference into a Development Community (SADC) took place on August 17, 1992 in Windhoek, Namibia when the Declaration and Treaty was signed at the Summit of Heads of State and Government thereby giving the organization a legal character.
The Member States are Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. SADC headquarters are located in Gaborone, Botswana.
The contracting authority of the MESA program is the African Union Commission and the major donor is the European Union. Besides the European Union, the Africa Caribbean and Pacific Organization (ACP) and the five RECs, EUMETSAT and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) are partners in the project.
When the Cotonou agreement was revised in 2010, the EU and the ACP recognized the importance of tackling the effects of climate change in Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific. It is widely recognized that Earth Observation (EO) data was not enhancing the design of policy in many key areas such as Agriculture and Water in the way that was considered necessary. Indeed, an apparent lack of access to data and flaws in its dissemination was observed. The capacity of the African Institutions to reap tangible gains from EO was deemed to require robust enhancements.
The Monitoring of Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) program intends to fill this gap by providing reliable land, marine and climate data and information for Africa by fully exploiting Earth Observation (EO) data and technologies; while and also updating the technology and developing capacity of the relevant institutions.
Importantly, the available information from EO needs to be packaged in the form of user friendly and simplified information. Critically, only by simple and immediate forms of communication to major stakeholders e.g. such as policy makers, farmers or fishermen, can the quality of decision-making on better management of environmental resources in general to be boosted.