European Union holds in the Philippines Second Conference on “COPERNICUS” Space Programme

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By Estrella Z. Gallardo


With Dr. Philippe Brunet from the European Commission and Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña from the Government of the Philippines providing keynote addresses and Mr. Rafael de Bustamante charge d’Affaires (message), a.i. of the EU Delegation to the Philippines the Second conference on Space Program “COPERNICUS” begun at the Diamond Residence Hotel, Makati City on February 6, 2020.

Dr. Philippe Brunet, was a farmer EU Director for Space Policy, Copernicus Programme and Defense and now Principal Advisor to the European Commission Directorate for Cooperation and Development.

The conference highlighted prominent aspects for science, innovation and technology to support sustainable development and discussed the many benefits of satellite remote sensing and space data management for disaster management, environmental protection, and climate change adaptation. This will also serve as platform to enable agencies, organizations and multiple stakeholders in the Philippine to engage more closely with the European space sector.

Copernicus is the European Union’s flagship space programme which monitors and provides vital information on the Earth’s environment and its many ecosystems from integrated space and ground-based airborne and seaborne measured data.

The European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Center (ERCC) of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian and Operations (ECHO) had used Copernicus mapping system since 13 January to provide accurate rapid and spatially explicit information on the hazards, exposure and vulnerability surrounding the activities of Taal Volcano.

Through the Copernicus Programme, four maps (including first estimated product, reference deliberation and grading maps) were produced

The Technology was also tapped during Habagat flooding in 2012 and other typhoons Yolanda (Haiyan 2013), Londao (Koppu 2015), Ompong (Mangkhut 2018) which hit the country.

Information generated from the Copernicus Programme help in strengthening the implementation of risk reduction measures of the local level.

In view of the above context, the European Union Delegation to the Philippines has been working very closely with the Department of Science and Technology since early 2019 to develop a national capacity support programme on Copernicus for the Philippines.

This perspective new cooperation aims to address the key objectives of the Philippine government to develop and utilize Earth Observation satellite application to enhance hazard management and disaster mitigation strategies and to further strengthen the country’s reliance to climate change.

The conference included:

Panel discussion on Policies for enabling innovation by

  • Renato Solidum, Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption, DOST;
  • Elenida Basug, Director Climate Change Service, DENR;
  • Stephen Coulson, European Space Agency (ESA); and
  • Philippine Brunet, EC DG DEVCO

Best practice – Earth Observation and Copernicus applications discussed by

  • Sylvia Esperanza, Chief, Land Resource Data Analysis Division (NAMRIA);
  • Nestor T. Olfindo, DOST-ASTI;
  • Arturo Daag, Chief, Geologic Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Division, DOST Phivolcs;
  • Stephen Coulson, European Space Agency (ESA);
  • Rory Donnelly, European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC); and
  • Peter Zeil, EU_DOST Copernicus Project.

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