Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Drone governance: study of policies, laws and regulations governing the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in ACP countries

The use of UAVs or drones in the management of crops, livestock, fisheries, forests and other natural resource-based activities represents a new technological frontier and opens up a range of exciting opportunities. However, the use of UAVs is a recent phenomenon and interested users and national civil aviation authorities are facing challenges linked to their use within their skies. To realise the full potential of the technology while ensuring the safety and privacy of citizens, two things are necessary: enabling regulatory regimes and increasing awareness of the rules and regulations surrounding civil use of UAVs.

Although the European Commission recently supported the establishment of an online repository of information concerning regulations issued by all European countries, there is no similar comprehensive database on existing and forthcoming policies, laws and regulations governing the use of UAVs in ACP countries. The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), an international organisation funded mainly by the European Union and operating in 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries wishes to facilitate the responsible use of UAVs and related software applications to improve the effective management of crops, fishing grounds and other resource-based activities.

To that end, this study assessed the existence or absence of policies, rules and regulations governing the use of UAVs in all 79 ACP countries. The results are quite telling: as of April 2016, 73% of ACP countries did not have any rules or regulations in place; 19% had some regulations in place; and 8% were in the process of formulating them. CTA hopes that this database will help to increase awareness of the rules and regulations surrounding UAV use, promote their responsible use and help to fully realise their potential in the management of crops, fisheries and other resources.

The report is available as a download on CTA's online publications' portal.

Data gathered in the course of the study have been published on a site hosted by The Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) and is accessible on this wiki www.droneregulations.info which allows online collaboration.

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