The countries of the Congo Basin are using geo-spatial technologies for the sustainable development of forest ecosystems

Signature of the financing agreement between the AFD and IGN France International and of the operator contract between IGN FI and Astrium in the presence of Didier Mercier, deputy general manager of the AFD, Nathalie Marthe-Bismuth, general manager of IGN France International and Patrick Le Roch, executive manager of Astrium GEO Information Services

The programme for the provision of SPOT images (satellites operated by Astrium), financed by the French Agency of Development (AFD) and implemented by IGN France International (IGN FI), is now entering its second phase.

The processing of satellite images will allow the beneficiaries to be able to more easily analyse these data and to better use them in order to shape their strategic choices. This new phase will thus contribute to the preparation of strategies for the preservation of forests and the establishment of national climate plans in the countries of the Congo Basin.

The forests of the Congo Basin represent 22% of forestry coverage worldwide and form a carbon reservoir of more than 56 gigatons.

Paris, April 16, 2012

The partnership established in 2010 between the AFD and Astrium aims, in the long term, to freely distribute SPOT satellite images to governments, public institutions and NGOs that work for the sustainable management of forests in Central Africa.

This programme for the provision of SPOT satellite images, which is financed by the AFD for a total sum of 8.5 million Euros, is now entering its second phase. It is piloted by French institutions specialising in the field of spatial observation united as a consortium led by IGN France International (IGN FI) and made up of the National Centre for Spatial Studies (CNES), the National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information (IGN) and the Institute of Research for Development (IRD).

Spatial observation has long been used by professionals in the forestry field as a decision-support tool for the planning and management of forests, inventory work and forest cartography. SPOT satellite imagery combines a large coverage capacity with resolutions spanning from 20 to 2.5 metres, allowing for accurate monitoring of forest coverage. The archive images (from 1990 to 2011) serve as reference data in order to assess the commitments related to REDD+. The acquisition of new images allows for the updating of information over time in order to follow the evolution of deforestation and adapt environmental policies.

Vincent Kasulu Seya Makonga, Director of Sustainable Development and representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the framework convention of the United Nations on Climate Change (UNFCCC) welcomes the deployment of this project in his country: “The SPOT data is an essential information source and its provision provides real added value, especially for the Measurement, Reporting & Verification (MRV) system that we are implementing in the context of REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and the Degradation of forests), as well as for the development of our National Forest Inventory.”

Source: French Agency of Development (AFD) – IGN France International (IGN FI) – Press Release – 16 April 2012