National context

Earth observation research may provide a tremendous amount of scientific information for environmental research, more specifically for the research programme "Science for sustainable development" (2005-2013) the Council of Ministers approved on 4 March 2005, covering the following areas: energy, transport and mobility, agri-food, health and the environment, climate, biodiversity, atmospheres and marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Belgium is required to align its environmental policy with a number of European Directives (such as Habitats, Natura 2000, Water Framework Directive) and international agreements (such as Agenda 21 and the Kyoto Protocol) pertaining to the environment and sustainable development. Moreover, operating at the interface between economic and sustainable development, the Common Agricultural Policy is increasingly reliant on the Member States' support to ensure rural open spaces are managed in an environmentally friendly way. On the basis of all these aforementioned examples, earth observation represents a valuable tool for helping administrations at various levels to map out and follow up their policies.