15 January 2007
United Nations Holds Session on the Use of Space-derived Geospatial Data for Sustainable Development
VIENNA, 15 January (UN Information Service) -- Member States and the United Nations will meet in an informal, open session at 2.30 pm on 19 January to exchange views and information on UN activities related to the use of geospatial data collected in outer space by Earth-orbiting satellites. The session will be hosted by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) and is titled "The use of space-derived geospatial data for sustainable development in the United Nations system". It will take place immediately after the 27th annual session of the United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities, to be held from 17 to 19 January at the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV).
Geospatial data is information relating to the location and relationship between geographical features. Earth-orbiting satellites provide a unique vantage point for the collection of data which provides timely, global information on the state of the planet and local situations on the ground. This information is routinely used by decision makers in the United Nations system, and contributes to activities in the fields of human security, humanitarian assistance, development and welfare, protection of the Earth's environment, and sustainable management of resources.
The topic of this year's open informal session was chosen in view of the growing importance of space-derived geospatial data applications. The topic, under a three-year workplan, will also be included as a new item on the agenda of the fiftieth session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), to be held from 6 to 15 June 2007.
The UN Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities has convened annually since 1975, to discuss current and future activities, emergent space technologies of interest and other related matters. The Meeting reports on its deliberations to COPUOS. The Meeting also compiles, on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, a report on the coordinated space-related activities of the UN system, which serves as a strategic tool for UN entities to further enhance inter-agency cooperation and avoid duplication of efforts related to the use of various space applications.
Open informal sessions for the Member States and observers of COPUOS have been held by the Inter-Agency Meeting since 2004 to provide a constructive mechanism for an active dialogue between the entities of the UN system and Member States of COPUOS.
Representatives from the following countries and UN entities are expected to participate in the open informal session: Albania, Algeria, Austria, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, United States of America, Office for Outer Space Affairs, International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, International Telecommunication Union, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, United Nations Institute for Training and Research Operational Satellite Applications Programme, and World Meteorological Organization.
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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 and technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at
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For information contact:
Associate Programme Officer
Telephone: +43 1 26060-4962