22 June 2000
The European Space Agency, ESA, and the French Space Agency, CNES, signed a charter on 20 June 2000 to promote cooperation among space system operators in deploying their systems in the event of major natural or technological disasters. The charter was signed by Mr Antonio Rodotà, ESA's Director General, and Mr Gérard Brachet, Director General of CNES.
Every year, and at all latitudes, our planet is hit by natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, forest fires and tropical storms. The Earth is scarred too by human activities such as pollution by hydrocarbons, toxic and radioactive substances. When disasters strike, the charter signatories will support the organisations responsible for managing the situation and carrying out rescue operations by making available Earth observation, positioning, telecommunications and TV broadcasting space systems, ground facilities and archive image data.
In particular, data from ESA's Earth observation satellites - ERS-2 and in the near future Envisat - and from the SPOT-1, 2, 4 and shortly 5* satellites operated by CNES - will provide authorities with the reliable information they need, complementing inputs from conventional ground-based and airborne systems.
The charter, a far-reaching humanitarian initiative jointly promoted by ESA and CNES, will provide at world level a coherent scheme for access to data from a wide variety of space systems. It aims to strengthen international cooperation and is open to all satellite operators around the globe. All partners undertake to develop their cooperation on a voluntary basis, with no exchange of funds. The administrative, operational and technical coordination needed to achieve the objectives set forth in the charter will be supplied by a Board and standing Secretariat.
* The SPOT satellites are developed and built jointly by France, Belgium and Sweden.
For further information, please contact :
ESA, Communication Department :
Media Relations Office
Service de Presse
Fax : +33(0)22.214.171.12416
For further information on ESA and CNES, see the web sites :
ESA : http://www.esa.int
CNES : http://www.cnes.fr