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China-EU ‘Dragon Programme’ Enters New Phase: 20 Years of Earth Observation Cooperation

The 5th Dragon Programme summary seminar and 6th Programme (2024-2028) launch meeting, a scientific cooperation initiative between China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the European Space Agency (ESA), opened in Lisbon, Portugal on June 24th.

Initiated in 2004, the Dragon Programme is a large-scale Earth observation research cooperation. From 2024, the China Science and Technology Exchange Center will manage the Chinese side of the project.

Both parties signed the 6th Dragon Programme cooperation agreement, covering 10 key areas including land, atmosphere, climate change, and big data. They will promote Earth observation data sharing and application development through collaborative research, academic exchanges, and talent training.

Chinese Ambassador to Portugal Zhao Bentang called the programme a model of China-EU scientific cooperation. Dai Gang from China’s Ministry of Science and Technology highlighted the programme’s achievements in fostering a stable joint research team and providing technological support for global challenges like climate change.

Gao Xiang, Director of China Science and Technology Exchange Center, noted the programme’s expansion in research fields, shared data sources, and participating scientists over its 20-year history.

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher described the Dragon Programme as one of the longest-standing and most successful projects in EU-China cooperation, promoting in-depth exchange between scientists and advancing technological applications.

The five-day meeting will focus on Earth observation technology developments and satellite remote sensing applications in environmental protection and disaster prevention. Nearly 300 experts from China and Europe are attending.

Source: People’s Daily, June 26, 2024