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Major European program for the environment under the spotlight in Lille, France

On 16 and 17 September, in the context of France's presidency of the EU, Lille will play host to 'Forum GMES 2008' at the Grand Palais.

The GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) programme has been set up to provide services relating to the environment, climate change, resource management, security and global issues. These services draw on data - mainly Earth observation data - from satellites and in-situ measurements, combined with socio-economic data, processed in such a way as to readily generate usable information for all citizens in Europe on a sustained basis.

GMES is an initiative of the European Commission, which is responsible for setting the requirements and identifying the services to be offered. ESA is in charge of the development and procurement of dedicated GMES satellites and for the coordination of space assets provided by European national operators and EUMETSAT.

Forum GMES 2008 will be an opportunity for all the players concerned to present, demonstrate and share the services that GMES can provide, for instance in the management of the marine and atmospheric environment, land use, emergency and humanitarian events, global security issues and monitoring of climate change.

Over the last 30 years, ESA has been developing Earth observation satellites, notably all the European meteorological satellites, in cooperation with EUMETSAT, and the ERS-1, -2 and Envisat satellites, which are designed more to perform measurements relevant to environmental and climate research.

Based on this long experience and on requirements derived from applications, ESA is developing new missions called 'Sentinels'. The five Sentinels under development will feature radar and superspectral imaging, as well as ocean and atmospheric monitoring capacities. The industrial phase of the first three satellites is already under way.

The detailed programme for Forum GMES 2008 can be found at ESA's senior GMES specialist will be available at the Forum for interviews and to give background information.

Media representatives wishing to attend the Forum are required to both register at" (password: GMESPRESSE) and obtain accreditation via the French EU Presidency site at

The deadline for accreditation is Wednesday 10 September 2008 and only media representatives registered on both websites will be granted access to the Forum activities.


Contact: Josef Aschbacher
European Space Agency

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