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International Partnerships
News announcement6 December 2022Directorate-General for International Partnerships

Global Gateway in Latin America and the Caribbean: European Space Agency and the Commission join forces on earth observation

Space view of planet Earth covered with digital connections among artificial satellites transmitting data
© Shutterstock

The European Commission has signed a contribution agreement with the European Space Agency to build a regional Copernicus centre in Panama, the first of its kind in the context of EU external relations. With a €12 million funding, the EU will support this ambitious earth observation programme reinforcing its partnership with Panama and the whole region in the digital area.

European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said “When I visited Panama in June this year, I was pleased to discuss with partners our ambitions with regards to the Copernicus centre. And now this is becoming reality, together with the European Space Agency. . As the EU works to promote the green and digital transitions in Latin America and the Caribbean, Global Gateway will be our ‘engine’ - driving sustainable investments on shared priorities with our partners”.

Both the EU and Latin America an the Caribbean countries expect mutual benefits in the areas of climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security, tracking of emissions or disaster risk reduction. The new Copernicus regional data centre will enhance the resilience of the whole region to natural and man-made disasters by the strategic use of space data for monitoring disaster risk and support recovery operations.

The programme will be implemented by the European Space Agency. It will foster private sector and industrial cooperation between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean, support capacity building and a business incubation centre. The objective is to create digital ecosystems including different actors as policy makers, the private sector and civil society. The centre will play a key role to support governments and local authorities in Latin America and the Caribbean to achieve their respective environmental goals.

The new centre will play a significant role in data and services management and will ensure that data are processed in line with common fundamental values.

The contribution agreement was signed by Mr. Koen Doens, Director General for International Partnerships at the European Commission and Mr. Josef Aschbacher, Director General of the European Space Agency, in presence of H. E. Yavel Mireya Francis, Ambassador of Panama.

This cooperation agreement opens doors for more collaboration between the EU and the European Space Agency also in other regions.


Copernicus is the European Union's Earth observation programme, looking at our planet and its environment to benefit all European citizens. It offers information services that draw from satellite Earth Observation data.

The European Commission manages Copernicus. It is implemented in partnership with the Member States, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), EU Agencies and Mercator Océan.

This new collaboration takes place in the context of the EU Global Gateway Strategy. The Strategy aims at boosting smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education and research systems across the world.

The EU–Latin America and the Caribbean Digital Alliance is a flagship initiative for the region that proposes a comprehensive cooperation framework. It aims to address the digital divide and to achieve an inclusive digital transformation focused on the human dimension, mainly through four pillars:

  • Policy cooperation and harmonisation of standards and regulatory frameworks;
  • Backbone connectivity;
  • Earth observation-enabled e-services and products;
  • Digital innovation and private sector cooperation.


Publication date
6 December 2022
Directorate-General for International Partnerships