The director-general of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Halilu Shaba has emphasised the critical importance of utilising accurate satellite data for effective environmental monitoring in the African sub-region.
He made these remarks during the Second Regional Exchange Workshop for West Africa on Global Monitoring of Environment and Security, held in Abuja under the theme “Leveraging Earth Observation Data to Empower West African Users in Sustainable Water and Natural Resource Management”.
Shaba expressed appreciation for the workshop’s organisers and highlighted its primary objective of promoting the use of satellite capabilities and relevant data for monitoring environmental activities. This approach aims to provide policymakers with a deeper understanding of ecosystems, facilitating the implementation of result-oriented policies in the field of environmental management.
He underlined the potential for collaboration and knowledge exchange that could contribute to better environmental management in Africa. Shaba noted that NASRDA and Nigeria have been at the forefront of exploring innovative strategies to mitigate the impact of environmental degradation not only within the country but across the entire African sub-region.
In his opening speech, Shaba encouraged workshop participants to engage in critical thinking and develop effective strategies to address challenges related to environmental monitoring. He emphasized the importance of finding solutions to issues such as flooding and security that have persistently affected the West African region.
The project coordinator at the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Tiediani Ouattara emphasised the African Union (AU)’s commitment to strengthening the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) platform to have a more significant impact across the continent. He praised the role of Nigeria, particularly NASRDA, in regional partnerships aimed at addressing environmental challenges in Africa.
The GMES initiative is designed to provide comprehensive data on the African regional ecosystem, facilitating the formulation and effective implementation of policies and programs. Ouattara emphasised the significance of GMES activities in areas related to security, flooding, and climate change.
He stressed that effective collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the exchange of ideas are essential for tackling these challenges collectively.
The director of strategic space application at NASRDA, Dr. Matthew Adepoju described the workshop as a platform where experts with the necessary skills come together to critically examine environmental issues and events. This collective effort aims to enhance understanding of the challenges and develop sustainable solutions for the benefit of Africa.
A representative from the University of Ghana, Dr. Benjamin Botwe emphasised the importance of African countries uniting under such a platform to exchange ideas and develop strategies for addressing environmental issues. This collaboration is vital for achieving continental goals and objectives.
Dr. Sheikh Mbow of the Centre de Suivi Ecolgique expressed his delight at the existence of strategic collaborations within the sub-region, promoting a collective approach to problem-solving for the entire continent. He praised NASRDA for providing relevant satellite data through its earth observation satellites, which has been instrumental in formulating and implementing environmental policies and programs for the betterment of Africans.
According to a statement from the agency’s media and corporate communications, signed by Daniel Abdullahi said the three-day workshop, the Second Regional Exchange Workshop for West Africa on Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), aims to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration among stakeholders to enhance the impact of GMES and Africa consortia projects in West Africa. It focuses on leveraging earth observation data to support decision-making and sharing tools and applications developed for the region’s benefit.