02 Sep 2021

Our team was excited to attend the RCMRD International Conference last week as a gold sponsor. The team presented in six sessions showcasing the Digital Earth Africa platform, the data available and use cases from across the continent. 

We were delighted to receive two awards for our booth, celebrating the most productive views and most business cards requested. RCMRD continues to be our implementing partner in the region, supporting its member States using products and services from Digital Earth Africa such as the Water Observations from Space (WOfS), Crop mask, Sentinel 2 Geomad, and more. Together, we shall have the Africa we want in support of the African Union Agenda 2063 and SDGs.

Find out more about what was discussed and the highlights from each of the conference days below. Thanks to the team at RCMRD and to our presenters from both the Digital Earth Africa Establishment Team and our Implementing Partners for a great three days of sessions.

Summary of sessions

Overview of Digital Earth Africa - Presented by Andiswa Mlisa from South African National Space Agency on behalf of her role as Digital Earth Africa Technical Committee Co-Chair.  

Unlocking The Promise of Tomorrow From Patterns of The Past - Presented by Dr. Kenneth Mubea from the Digital Earth Africa Establishment Team 

Water Observations from Space: Accurate maps of surface water through time for the continent of Africa - Presented by David Ongo on behalf of the Digital Earth Africa Product Development Task Team . 

Digital Earth Africa - Next Generation Platform to Revolutionise EO Applications in Africa - Presented by Edward Boamah from the Digital Earth Africa Establishment Team 

Digital Earth Africa's Cropland Extent for East Africa - Presented by Chad Burton from Digital Earth Africa co-developed with team members from AGRHYMET (Niger), AfriGIST (Nigeria), RCMRD (Kenya), OSS (Tunisia) and NADMO (Ghana)

RIC conference presentations slides


Day one highlights 

Ms. Elizabeth B. Khumotoka (RCMRD Governing Council Chairperson) opened the conference with a ceremony welcoming the chief guest  Hon. Mrs. Farida Karoney (Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Kenya). Mrs. Farida highlighted the inclusion of the youth and women in addressing climate resilience and congratulated the conference organisers for providing a space for delegates to share knowledge and innovation in a virtual and safe environment. Catch up on the live stream here.

Digital Earth Africa Governing Board and Technical Advisory Committee member Steven Ramage and Technical Advisory Committee Co-Chair Andiswa Mlisa delivered a presentation on ‘Science Policy Linkage to Resilience Measurement’. Both presenters highlighted the role of DE Africa in helping Africa to achieve climate resilience, and work towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and African Union Agenda 2063. Catch up on the live stream here

Day two highlights 

Day two of the conference focused on the application of Earth observation and GIS tools in climate adaptation and mitigation. It featured presentations from the African Union Commission, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and KEMRI. Catch up on the live stream here.

DE Africa participated in the parallel session, hosted on the theme of Agriculture and Food Security, with Chad Burton presenting on the cropland extent for East Africa. The Digital Earth Africa  networking lounge was also very well received. 

Day three highlights 

On the final day, the focus turned to Innovation in Resilience Building, Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies. We heard from  Dr. David Obura, CORDIO East Africa, Mr. Martin Mulongo, USAID, Kenya, and Dr. Halima Saado, International Centre for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA), Kenya Red Cross Society. The keynote addresses looked at climate change adaptation and mitigation in the coastal and marine sector (from CORDIO East Africa), climate resilient development in the WASH sector (USAID Kenya) and advances in climate risk planning and financing (INCA). 

DE Africa featured in a parallel session in the Innovations and Development Hub. Poster sessions showcased the breadth of the program’s offering, by featuring our capacity development programme and the Sentinel-1 Analysis Ready radar backscatter for the African continent. Talks presenting DE Africa as the next generation platform to revolutionise EO applications in Africa were also given, using the platform to monitor crop extent and how data can be used for time series and change detection across the continent. 

The conference ended with a closing ceremony, including a keynote that gave some important insights into the importance of Earth observations in addressing resilience and the UN SDGs across Africa. Dr. Emmanuel Nkurunziza thanked partners and sponsors and stated “Together we shall overcome the COVID era as earth observation is critical for planning for sustainable management of natural resources”. 

Attendees at the RIC conference
                                       Goodbye #RIC2021