United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

General Assembly: 2008 
Sixty-third session  

Panel on "Space Applications and Food Security"
13 October 2008, a.m., UNHQ, New York


The soaring costs of food and energy are pushing some 100 million people into poverty and threatening progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The ongoing crisis is not a short-term issue and will require the sustained attention of Governments, international and regional organizations, civil society and the private sector for years to come.

A global consensus has emerged, on the need to find immediate and global responses to the complex crisis and to put policies in place that can turn the threatening situation into an agricultural renaissance. For example, agricultural and food production will have to be expanded. A comprehensive approach, addressing and integrating short-term food relief operations and programmes as well as long-term strategies for sustainable agricultural and rural development is needed.

On 28 April, 2008, the United Nations Secretary-General established a Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis under his chairmanship and composed of the heads of the United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programmes, Bretton Woods institutions and relevant parts of the UN Secretariat. The primary aim of the Task Force is to promote a unified response to the global food price challenge, including by facilitating the creation of a prioritized plan of action and coordinating its implementation.

Over the years the potential benefits of space technology and its applications in addressing vital issues related to food security, such as land use/land change assessments and surveys, resources management, and rural development, have been demonstrated. In some instances these applications have today achieved operational status.

The Panel on "Space Applications and Food Security" will be convened on 13 October 2008 and will consider how space technology and its applications can provide possible solutions and contribute to mitigate the consequences of the present crisis.


Speakers and Programme

The duration of the Panel will be approximately one hour, leaving some additional time for possible questions and answers. It will be convened at the beginning of the morning session (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) of the 4th Committee when it considers agenda item 31 on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space and will be held in Conference Room 4 in the main United Nations Headquarters complex.

Following the opening of agenda item 30 and the introductory remarks by the chairman of the 4th Committee and the chairman of COPUOS, respectively, the Panel will include the following three speakers: 

Presentation Format
(Chairman of the 4th Committee)
Introductory Remarks
(Mr. Ciro Arévalo-Yepes, Chairman of COPUOS)
Food Security and the Development Agenda
(Mr. David O'Connor, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development)
Powerpoint Presentation
The Role of Science and Technology
(Mr. Sten Nilsson, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis)
Regional Cooperation and Coordination using Space Technology Applications
(Mr. Jeff Tschirley, Food and Agriculture Organization)
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