The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the European Union (EU) launched today (24 April 2023) the Copernicus Capacity Support Action Programme for the Philippines (CopPhil) worth approximately Php 610 million or €10 million.  

The first space cooperation programme in the region, this new initiative will help Philippine authorities develop national systems to make use of EU’s earth observation’s satellites data in the country’s disaster mitigation and climate change adaptation and food security strategies.  

The EU’s earth observation flagship programme, Copernicus provides free environment and climate data derived from a constellation of satellites –the Sentinels- which monitor the earth and its many ecosystems 24-hours daily. This free information aims to help public authorities, businesses, and international organisations mitigate climate change impacts and build a sustainable future for all.  

In the Philippines, Copernicus’ satellite images have already helped authorities monitor the situation of remote communities in the aftermath of typhoons such as Odette or accidents like an oil spill to help authorities plan their disaster preparedness plans and mitigation programmes.  

The launch of CopPhil featured a line-up of high level national and international speakers from the Philippine Government, academia, industry, and space agencies, as well as representatives from the European public sector and space agencies from Austria, Italy, Greece, Spain, Germany, France and Romania, and from the European Space Agency (ESA).  

During the launch, Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum welcomed Copernicus and the Copernicus programme in the Philippines as “A long-awaited cooperation on an innovative system that will provide the Philippines new opportunities to develop earth observation applications for disaster risk reduction and management, environmental protection, and climate change adaptation.”  

PhilSA Director General Joel Marciano Jr. said that “The Agency welcomes this partnership with the European Union as it strengthens the domestic space value chain, particularly the ability to process and use satellite images and spaceborne data to better manage, and protect our environment and natural resources, and be better prepared in the face of disasters and climate change.”

H.E. Luc Véron, European Union Ambassador to the Philippines, said that “The Copernicus programme for the Philippines is a pioneer initiative in Asia and Asia Pacific and a starting point for a larger programme on Digital Connectivity. The programme will enhance capacities for a stronger and more shock-resilient Filipino economy and society.”

“In the long term the European Union is exploring the possibility to create a network of Copernicus partners in the ASEAN region aside from other parts of the world. The uptake of innovative technologies such as Copernicus will trigger growth, jobs and modernisation of digital infrastructures that can be used in many sectors in the Philippines”, Ambassador Véron said.