Press Releases

UNIS/OS/372
5 September 2008

United Nations to Hold Symposium on Space Tools and Solutions for Monitoring the Atmosphere and Land Cover

VIENNA, 5 September (UN Information Service) - A four-day Symposium on "Space Tools and Solutions for Monitoring the Atmosphere and Land Cover" will be held in Graz, Austria, at the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, from 9 to 12 September. The Symposium is organized within the framework of the Programme on Space Applications of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), in cooperation with the Government of Austria and the European Space Agency (ESA). It is the sixth in a series of consecutive symposia specifically addressing the role of space technology and its applications that contribute to carry out the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002. The Symposium is hosted and co-sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, the State of Styria, the City of Graz and ESA.

The forthcoming Symposium aims to provide new insights into the integration of space applications with global efforts in support of sustainable development. The main theme of the Symposium will be on space tools and solutions for monitoring the atmosphere and land cover, with the aim to enable and support participants in developing countries to implement projects in this area, and to provide reliable data and information for policy and decision-making related to monitoring the        interaction between the atmosphere and land cover. Specific topics discussed at the Symposium will include the use of space technology and its applications addressing issues such as climate change, increasing agricultural yields, land and rural development, and fighting drought and desertification. The recommendations of the Symposium will be reported to Member States of the United Nations through the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and the Commission on Sustainable Development, established by the United Nations General Assembly to deal with all issues of sustainable development.

This year's Symposium will be the fifteenth in the series of annual symposiums held in Graz since 1994. On this occasion a special session to celebrate this anniversary will be held on 9 September. This session will provide an appropriate and special opportunity to review and celebrate the achievements of the series of symposiums which is one of the central pillars of the capacity building efforts of UNOOSA and to honour the central role of Austria, the City of Graz, and other co-sponsoring entities which sustained this long-standing series of United Nations activities. This session will make available a CD-ROM containing all documents that emanated from past Symposia.

Key lectures will be given by representatives of the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Scientific Centre for Aerospace Research of the Earth (CASRE), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States Geological Survey (USGS), Global Monitoring of Environment and Security (GMES), German Aerospace Center (DLR) and UNOOSA. A hands-on training session for the participants, providing demonstrations of the exemplary use of satellite data for atmosphere monitoring, will be organized by NASA.

Around 70 decision makers and programme managers from governmental institutions and the private sector from the following countries are expected to attend the Symposium: Algeria, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Syria, Togo, Ukraine, United States, Zambia.

The detailed programme of the Symposium and related information are available at http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/SAP/act2008/graz/index.html

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Press briefing

At the press briefing, the organizers of the Symposium and experts will provide journalists with information on the issues that will be addressed during the Symposium.

Date and time: 9 September 2008 11:00 a.m.

Place: Institute for Space Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Schmiedlstrasse 6, Graz, Austria

For information on the press briefing, please contact:

Hans-Peter Weingand
Public Relations, Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
Telephone: (+43-316) 876-1150
Mobile: (+43-699) 1876 1150
Email: hans-peter.weingand@joanneum.at ; pr@joanneum.at

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

UNOOSA 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 and technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, UNOOSA maintains a website at http://www.unoosa.org/