Press Releases

UNIS/OS/265
23 September 2003

Strengthening Developing Countries' Capacities in Using Space Technology

VIENNA, 23 September (UN Information Service) - A three-day Workshop on "Education and Capacity Building in Space Technology for the Benefit of Developing Countries" will be held at the University of Bremen, Germany, from 25 to 27 September. The workshop will focus on remote sensing applications and will be held in conjunction with the 54th International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Congress.

The event is jointly organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), under the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, and the IAF. Co-sponsored by the European Space Agency and the Government of Germany, it is the thirteenth such event in a successful series of meetings by the same organizers.

The potential benefits of using remote sensing applications to achieve sustainable development and capacity building are generally recognized in developing countries. However, experience has shown that in order to successfully implement and operate this technology, action is required on other major issues. This includes continuously developing human resources.

In this context, the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) attached great importance to enhancing capacity building. This is pursued through a variety of methods, including: the development of human and budgetary resources, the training and professional development of teachers, the exchange of teaching methods, materials and experience and the development of infrastructure and policy regulations in this area.

The Workshop will address these and other issues and will discuss how remote sensing applications and education can contribute to capacity building for the benefit of developing countries.

The workshop has two main focus areas. These are remote sensing technology applications supporting sustainable development and related to agriculture, hydrology, environment, disaster management and geology; and remote sensing technology education supporting sustainable development and related to development of education curricula, university-level and computer-assisted teaching, internet resources and e-learning and international cooperation.

Around 70 participants, including space experts from the academic and research community, policy and decision makers and space industry representatives, international organizations, and the private sector, are expected to attend the workshop. In particular, the following countries and institutions will be represented: Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education affiliated to the United Nations, European Space Agency, Asian Institute of Technology, International Academy of Astronautics, International Astronautical Federation, International Institute of Space Law and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

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The United Nations Programme on Space Applications is implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. It works to improve the use of space science and technology for the economic and social development of all nations, in particular developing countries. Under the Programme, the Office conducts training courses, workshops, seminars and other activities on applications and capacity building in subjects such as remote sensing, communications, satellite meteorology, search and rescue, basic space science, satellite navigation and space law.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, and assisting developing countries in using space science technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at http://www.oosa.unvienna.org.

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