CS Defence Presides Over Workshop on Earth Observation and Geospatial Data for Development

The Cabinet Secretary for Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo addresses the delegates at the workshop on Earth Observation and Geospatial data for sustainable development.

The Cabinet Secretary for Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo addresses the delegates at the workshop on Earth Observation and Geospatial data for sustainable development.

On March 21, 2019, the Cabinet Secretary for Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, presided over a multiagency forum on the use of Earth Observation and Geospatial Data for development which was held at a Nairobi hotel. The forum was hosted by the Kenya Space Agency in partnership with the Office of the Deputy President under the sponsorship of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) and attended by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UN Environment among other key partners.

The meeting focused on catalysing the use of Earth Observation and Geospatial information for policy development and decision-making through multi-stakeholder collaboration in what has been termed the Africa Regional Data Cube. The Data Cube is a collective effort of various partners. It combines 17 years of satellite data which captures images that can assess crop performance in farmers’ fields, with data from agricultural surveys to understand the intricacies of environmental and seasonal changes over time. These insights will be filtered through powerful data analysis tools or algorithms to produce insights and guidance on variety of issues, like how different types of seeds can be expected to perform in different regions throughout the year.

Addressing the delegates, the Acting Director of the Kenya Space Agency Dr. John Kimani said that Kenya is keen to employ satellite-based agricultural data to boost food production. “The Kenya Space Agency will lead the country’s work with the ground-breaking Africa Regional Data Cube to mine almost two decades of satellite imagery for crucial insights on farming strategies as climate stresses mount,” he said.

In her speech, the Cabinet Secretary for Defence Amb. Raychelle Omamo acknowledged the Kenya Space Agency and its stakeholders for convening the crucial forum.

“As you all know, the Government, the private sector and people of Kenya as a whole have been at the forefront of science and technological innovation, especially in harnessing their potential for sustainable development,” the CS stated, adding that while a majority of these tools have largely been in the realm of mobile telephony, the Government further recognizes the need for Kenya to fully exploit the potential of space technologies.

She further noted that, His Excellency the president signed an Executive Order to establish the Kenya Space Agency in March 2017, and in July 2018 he appointed the Chairperson of the Board. This paved way for the CS to formally inaugurate the Board of the Kenya Space Agency which includes principal secretaries for State Ministries and Departments, these are; Defence, National Treasury, University Education and Research, Environment and Forestry, Information, Communications and Technology.

The CS acknowledged that application of space sciences can be a major contributor to the President’s Big Four Agenda. “Uncertainty is the enemy of agriculture and with the Data Cube we can take advantage of powerful new space technologies to provide better predictions regarding the crop choices and planting decisions most likely to produce a good harvest,” noted the CS.

In attendance at the workshop was the Chairman, Kenya Space Agency Major General (Rtd) James Aruasa, political leaders, military personnel, industry leaders, academia and the civil society among others.

The Chairman, Kenya Space Agency Major General (Rtd) James Arusa makes his remarks during the Workshop.The Chairman, Kenya Space Agency Major General (Rtd) James Arusa makes his remarks during the Workshop.
The Acting Director General of the Kenya Space Agency, Dr. John Kimani with other panelists during the seminar on ‘Earth Observation and Geospatial data for sustainable development’ held in Nairobi on 21st March, 2019.The Acting Director General of the Kenya Space Agency, Dr. John Kimani with other panelists during the seminar on ‘Earth Observation and Geospatial data for sustainable development’ held in Nairobi on 21st March, 2019.
From (L-R) The Acting Director General Kenya Space Agency Dr. John Kimani, Chairman, Kenya Space Agency Major General (Rtd) James Aruasa, Cabinet Secretary for Defence Amb. Raychelle Omamo, Governor, Vihiga County H.E Hon. Wilbur Otichillo and the Legal Advisor, Office of the Deputy President Dr. Korir Sing'oei in a group photo.From (L-R) The Acting Director General Kenya Space Agency Dr. John Kimani, Chairman, Kenya Space Agency Major General (Rtd) James Aruasa, Cabinet Secretary for Defence Amb. Raychelle Omamo, Governor, Vihiga County H.E Hon. Wilbur Otichillo and the Legal Advisor, Office of the Deputy President Dr. Korir Sing’oei in a group photo.
A group photo of the Cabinet Secretary for Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo and other delegates during the seminar on ‘Earth Observation and Geospatial data for sustainable development’ held in Nairobi on 21st March, 2019.A group photo of the Cabinet Secretary for Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo and other delegates during the seminar on ‘Earth Observation and Geospatial data for sustainable development’ held in Nairobi on 21st March, 2019.

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