18 January 2008
Delivering as One in Space-related Activities:
United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting Concludes its 28th Session in Geneva
VIENNA, 18 January (UN Information Service) - Delivering as one in space-related activities was one of the main issues at the 28th session of the United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities, held 16-18 January at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the Inter-Agency Meeting is the primary coordination mechanism of the United Nations system to achieve better cooperation and create more synergy in space-related activities..
"Space is essential to address numerous development challenges. The United Nations family increasingly uses satellite images and global navigation satellite systems during humanitarian emergencies and for disaster reduction. Space technology can help predict an area's agricultural output well in advance in regions of the world where people still go hungry, thereby contributing to another important development goal - food security. And with global warming and climate change, one of the major challenges to our future generations, space technology has become a crucial tool to collect critical land, ocean and atmospheric data," explains Mazlan Othman, the newly appointed Director of UNOOSA - the secretariat and coordinator of the Inter-Agency Meeting.
As space technology and applications are increasingly used in the work of the United Nations system, the need to cooperate and avoid duplication of efforts in space-related projects within the United Nations is urgent. At least 25 UN entities and the World Bank Group routinely use space applications. With that in mind, the Inter-Agency Meeting discussed means to strengthen inter-agency cooperation and build partnerships within the UN family to better employ space solutions to address global challenges. In that context, the Meeting welcomed the establishment of the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), a bridge between UN entities and space communities, and a tangible case of inter-agency cooperation in disaster relief.
The Inter-Agency Meeting, attended by eleven UN entities identified the following key issues for inter-agency coordination:
· Reinforcing the contributions made by the UN entities to the implementation of the United Nations Spatial Data Infrastructure (UNSDI);
· Enhancing the use of space-based assets in support of disaster management and making optimal use of opportunities, such as the new UN-SPIDER programme;
· Reinforcing the contributions made by United Nations entities to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO);
· Preparing a report on the use of space technology for sustainable development in Africa, to be presented to the third African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in 2009.
During the Meeting, Member States and UN agencies met in the Open Informal Session to discuss ways to build mutually beneficial public-private partnerships and seek innovative funding approaches to promote space solutions. The Open Informal Session, held since 2004, is part of wider efforts by the Inter-Agency Meeting to engage Member States in a direct dialogue with UN entities on important space-related developments in the United Nations system.
More information on the United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities and its Open Informal Session can be found on the website for the United Nations coordination of outer space activities ( http://www.uncosa.unvienna.org/uncosa/index.html).
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (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/.
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