Press Releases

    UNIS/OS/280
    6 May 2004

    United Nations Workshop on the Use of Space Technology for Environmental Security, Disaster Rehabilitation and Sustainable Development

    VIENNA, 6 May (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), within the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, is organizing a five-day Regional Workshop on the Use of Space Technology for Environmental Security, Disaster Rehabilitation and Sustainable Development. The Workshop, which is being jointly organized with the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) on behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, will be held in Tehran from 8 to 12 May 2004. The other co-organizers of the workshop are the Secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

    Earth observation satellites and other space technologies provide significant and unique solutions in all areas of disaster management, including mitigation, preparedness and prevention, disaster relief and also disaster rehabilitation. Similarly, space-based solutions play an important role in environmental security, which is defined as the relative safety from environmental dangers, such as pollution and sea-level change, caused by natural or human processes due to ignorance, accident, mismanagement or design, and originating within or across national borders.

    The objectives of this Workshop are to: (a) increase awareness about the potential benefits of using space technologies within the areas of environmental security, disaster management and sustainable development among managers and decision makers who deal with such issues; (b) determine the types of information and communications needed in activities in those areas and the extent to which space technologies could meet those needs; (c) develop a plan of action with recommendations that will guide the incorporation of space technologies in environmental security, disaster management and sustainable development, and; (d) define and establish a regional database for knowledge and data sharing on the environment and disasters, as well as on their sound management and monitoring.

    The Workshop will be divided into presentation sessions, discussion panels and discussion sessions. The presentation sessions will demonstrate the successful use of space technologies in areas including environmental security, natural hazards, disaster rehabilitation, post-conflict reconstruction and refugee support. The panels will bring together experts to focus on specific aspects of space technology applied in those areas. During the discussion sessions, the participants will form smaller groups to discuss specific topics that will lead to the development of an action plan with recommendations and guidelines, as well as profiles for possible pilot projects.

    The Workshop will be attended by technical personnel and decision makers from the following countries and international organizations: Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cuba, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Nepal, Netherlands, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Yemen, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and OOSA.

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    The United Nations Programme on Space Applications is implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and 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.