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The Inaugural Webinar highlights the first steps in the Copernicus Academy's deployment in Guatemala

The Inaugural Webinar highlights the first steps in the Copernicus Academy's deployment in Guatemala

More than 200 people, including experts, academics, specialists, and government representatives, gathered for the webinar "From Sky to Earth," the first step in the Copernicus Academy's deployment strategy in Guatemala. This event marked a milestone in the country's collaboration with the European Union in digital transformation and Earth observation.

Luis Cadenas, Executive Director of RedCLARA, emphasized the importance of this initiative, stating, "The installation of the Copernicus Academy brings numerous applications and benefits for research, academia, governance, and the country's productive sector. It is a great opportunity for stakeholders in Guatemala to access and use these tools in their daily activities."

He added that this effort resulted from close collaboration between RedCLARA and the European Union delegation in Guatemala, supported by the National Secretariat of Science and Technology of Guatemala (Senacyt), the National Research and Education Network of Guatemala, and the Copernicus Program through the EU Space Support Office and EUreCA.

Claudia Barillas, Task Manager of the European Union in Guatemala, stated that this support marks a new phase of collaboration for the country's digital transformation. "We have a long history of working with Guatemala through policies, programs, and investments, and this initiative represents a new step in supporting the country's digital transformation."

Gabriela Montenegro, Secretary of Science and Technology at Senacyt, emphasized the innovative impact of the Copernicus Academy and highlighted technological advances. "Data transforms various areas and is essential for research, food security, urban planning, and climate change. Copernicus is a key tool for evidence-based decision-making and developing Earth observation capabilities."

Gabriel Barrientos, leader of the Copernicus Academy process for Guatemala from the Universidad del Valle, provided details about this initiative in Latin America and the Caribbean.

"The Copernicus Academy is part of the BELLA II project, which connects the region with Europe, though it is not the Copernicus program itself," he explained. Barrientos underscored the Academy's role as a network that fosters capacity building and knowledge management in Earth observation domains, utilizing data from the Copernicus Program to foster collaboration among diverse players in the region's digital ecosystem.

"The Academy's objectives include capacity development and dissemination of data provided by Copernicus, which is freely available to academics, governments, the private sector, and the general public." It also seeks to foster development and promote interdisciplinary groups at international and continental levels to cultivate new skills. The intention is to keep this information accessible to everyone to foster collaborative innovation," Barrientos explained.

Roberto Matellanes, from the European Union Space Support Office (EUSSO), detailed the Copernicus project. This project constitutes the Earth observation component of the EU Space Program, managed by the European Commission and in collaboration with member states. It provides operationally free data and information services across various application areas.

"You can use these free and openly accessible data without restrictions." This availability significantly contributes to preparedness for crises, security risks, and natural or human-made disasters," he said. Additionally, he highlighted that this initiative represents a crucial tool for economic development and acts as a driving force for the digital economy. To date, users have downloaded 719 petabytes (equivalent to 719,000,000 gigabytes), underscoring the high interest and relevance of this resource for the community.

"The Copernicus Academy is poised to be a fundamental support for the installation and use of advanced technologies in Guatemala, promoting a national project that seeks to address critical issues and improve the population's well-being through innovation and access to precise data," he said in his presentation.

Step by step.

The Copernicus Academy deployment in Guatemala follows a clearly defined process. Following this informative webinar, the participants completed a survey. As a second step, a workshop will be organized to train and prepare the interested parties. Thirdly, we will constitute a national committee. Finally, we will schedule the implementation of a pilot plan for the second half of 2024.

This process is already underway in countries like Mexico, Ecuador, and Uruguay, while Chile and Panama serve as offices of the Copernicus program in Latin America.

To view the "From Sky to Earth" webinar, click on this YouTube link.


BELLA II receives funding from the European Union through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), under agreement number 438-964 with DG-INTPA, signed in December 2022. The implementation period of BELLA II is 48 months.


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