December, 06, 2023

MESA Project

MesaSadc logoEuropean CommissionbdmsSadc logoacp logoauc

Monitoring of the Environment for Security in Africa (MESA) Project



Global Background

The Monitoring of the Environment for Security in Africa (MESA) was a follow-up initiative to the African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD) programme. It contributed to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) 6th Partnership on Climate Change and Environment and on the AMESD programme achievements. The initiative was focused on using Earth Observation (EO) data and information products for environment and sustainable development, specifically designed for African users at continental, regional and national levels (AUC, 5 African Regions, and 50 countries). The project’s reliance on proven satellite and land-based monitoring technology was also consistent with the JAES 8th Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space.

Objective and expected results

The Overall Objective of MESA was to support African decision-makers and planners in designing and implementing national, regional and continental policies and development plans towards sustainable development, thereby advancing the socioeconomic progress and well-being of African populations towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The project addressed five (5) key results areas:

  • Result 1: improve access to earth observation data
  • Result 2: development/consolidation of geo-information service
  • Result 3: cross-fertilisation among the regions
  • Result 4: strengthen political and policy development frameworks
  • Result 5: adequate technical permanently capacity at continental, regional and national levels

Implementation took placefrom September 2013 to December 2017.

Thematic Actions and funding

The MESA programme was funded by the European Union under the framework of the 10th European Development fund (EDF) at an estimated budget of 37Million Euros. It was coordinated by the African Union Commission (AUC) in its capacity as the Delegated Regional Authorizing Officer (DRAO), in accordance with the MESA Financing Agreement (No.: REG/FED/022-553) signed between EU, the ACP Secretariat and the African Union Commission (on behalf of the participating RECs).  

Of the overall budget, 17 Million Euros was dedicated to development of regional Thematic Actions (THEMAS) in the form of grant contracts. The action themes for the development of geo-information services reflect the priorities of each Regional Economic Community (REC) and the THEMAs are being implemented by Regional Implementation Centres (RICs) designated by the RECs.

Summary Table for MESA Thematic Actions

No RECs RICs Thematic Actions
1 ECOWAS AGRHYMET Crop and rangeland management
2 ECOWAS University of Ghana Marine and coastal management
3 CEMAC CICOS Water resources management
4 SADC BDMS/SADC-CSC Agricultural and environmental resources management
5 IOC MOI Marine and coastal management
6 IGAD ICPAC Mitigation of land degradation (including forest exploitation) and conservation of natural habitats
7 AUC ACMAD Climate Change Monitoring service

[1] CEMAC = Communauté Economique et Monétaire de l”Afrique Centrale, ECOWAS = Economic Community of West African States, IGAD = Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IOC - Indian Ocean Commission, SADC = Southern African Development Community




Within the SADC region the MESA initiative was implemented by Botswana Department of Meteorological Services (BDMS) and SADC Climate Services Centre (SADC-CSC) in partnership with five (5) regional strategic co-beneficiary partner organisations (Agriculture Research Council, Botswana College of Agriculture, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Meraka Institute, Polytechnic of Namibia, and University of Zimbabwe under a thematic action grant contract with the African Union Commission. The implementation period was 36 months, starting on 1 September 2013. The action aimed to develop and operate four (4) main monitoring services, covering Agriculture, Drought, Flood and Wildfire in the region.



The Agricultural Service to monitor the state of the crops and rangeland and provide a yield-outlook.

The Drought Service to monitor drought during the whole year and deliver a decadal “Drought map” and a “Drought Outlook” in support of both agriculture and environmental issues.

The Wildfire Service to provide a daily Wildfire risk indication (before the fire), continuous active Wildfire maps (in real time during the Wildfire season, refreshed every 15 minutes) and monthly burnt area assessments (after the Wildfire).

The Flood Service to provide a flood risk indication and a flash flood forecast (before the floods), flood modelling (during the event of floods) and flood damage assessments (after the floods).

With these services MESA covered the four top hot topics in Southern Africa, which are agriculture, drought, wildfire and floods. The MESA programme provided the necessary infrastructure, but the emphasis of the project (60%) was also foreseen for user related activities such as strengthening regional and national Policy Frameworks, for building Earth Observation (EO) user capacity in SADC Member States and for improving the access to EO data.