United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs


UN/IAF Workshop on "Education and Capacity Building in Space Technology for the Benefit of Developing Countries" with emphasis on remote sensing applications
University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany, 25 - 27 September 2003

Co-sponsored by the European Space Agency and the Government of Germany
Hosted by University of Bremen


Available online resources:


1. Background

The United Nations (UN) and the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) have agreed to jointly organise a Workshop on the theme "Education and Capacity Building in Space Technology For the Benefit of Developing Countries", with an emphasis on remote sensing applications, from 25 to 27 September 2003. The Workshop will be held in conjunction with the 54th IAF Congress, which will be held from 29 September to 3 October 2003 in Bremen, Germany. Within the limited financial resources available, workshop participants selected by the UN and IAF will also be invited to attend the IAF Congress.

The Workshop will be held at the University of Bremen. It will be the thirteenth in a successful series of meetings organised by the Office for Outer Space Affairs under the United Nations Programme on Space Applications and by the International Astronautical Federation and will build on the recommendations and experience gained from previous workshops.


2. Objectives

Space technology and its applications have been widely recognised as a major instrument for enhancing human ability to understand the environment and manage natural resources. Data from existing and future Earth observation satellites can be used to address issues of social and economic importance in such areas as land-use management, the management of renewable and non-renewable resources, disaster management and mitigation, global health, and agricultural and fisheries management. Remote sensing is an essential tool to support the efforts to achieve sustainable development and capacity building in developing countries.

Remotely sensed data provide a view of the Earth for many studies that require synoptic or periodic observations such as inventory, surveying, and monitoring in the fields of agriculture, hydrology, geology, mineralogy, and environment. Remote sensing is a rapidly growing technology and is one of the important spin-offs of space applications. Remote sensing is a discipline that is integrated with other disciplines such as photogrammetry, cartography, geodetic reference systems, global positioning systems and geographic information systems.

A fundamental requirement of the UNISPACE III Conference, held from 19 - 30 July 1999 in Vienna, Austria, is to support sustainable development while safeguarding the Earth�s environment. This requires optimal management of natural resources and it depends upon the availability of reliable and up-to-date information at national, regional and international levels. Remotely sensed data play an increasingly important role as a source of reliable and timely information needed for sustainable management of natural resources and for environmental protection. In the application of remote sensing, education plays a pivotal role in its widespread adoption.

While the potential benefits of remote sensing applications in developing countries are generally recognised, experience has shown that successful implementation and operational use of this technology is subject to the resolution of some major issues, including the continuous development of human resources. In this context, UNISPACE III attached a great importance to enhancing capacity building through the development of human and budgetary resources; the training and professional development of teachers; the exchange of teaching methods, materials and experience; and the development of infrastructure and policy regulations in this area.

The Workshop will address these and related issues and will discuss how capacity building in remote sensing applications and remote sensing education can help benefit developing countries. The UN/IAF Workshop has been endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly as part of the 2003 activities of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications.

The Workshop and the 54th International Astronautical Federation Congress will provide a unique forum for discussion with space experts, policy and decision makers and representatives from private industry. Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and to examine opportunities for better cooperation. In the past, contacts established between participants have resulted in a number of initiatives and activities strengthening the role of space technology applications for improving the quality of life in developing countries.

The proceedings of the Workshop will be edited and subsequently published online by the Office for Outer Space Affairs to increase the awareness of the capabilities and benefits of space technology applications. The report of the Workshop, including recommendations formulated by the participants, will be presented to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.


3. Programme

The Workshop is composed of a series of technical presentations with ample time set aside for discussions. Morning and afternoon sessions will be followed by open discussions. Panel discussions will focus on specific topics of interest and will provide additional opportunities for participants to voice their opinions.

The Workshop programme will cover case studies in the application of remote sensing technology as listed below and will highlight the importance of remote sensing education at various levels. It will also consider a place of such applications in university education curricula on remote sensing, particularly in the education curriculum on remote sensing and geographic information system as developed for the regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education (affiliated to the United Nations).

The following is a summary of the topics that will be addressed during presentations and discussions at the Workshop.

    Remote sensing technology applications related to
    • Topographic and thematic mapping
    • Agriculture
    • Hydrology
    • Geology
    • Data analysis and image processing
    • Environment
    • Disaster management
    Remote sensing technology education related to
    • University level teaching
    • Education curricula development
    • Education for young students and school teachers
    • Public awareness
    • Computer assisted teaching
    • Internet resources and distance learning
    • International co-operation

Participants at the Workshop are encouraged to make presentations on the topics suggested in this information note, as well as to offer problems from their own activities for discussion and solution by the Workshop.


4. Date and location of Workshop

The Workshop will be held from 25 to 27 September 2003 at the facilities of the University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany, as part of the 54th International Astronautical Congress. Funded participants will be able also to attend the Congress.

All selected participants will receive an information package with details on board, lodging and other local arrangements.


5. Language of the Workshop and presentation by participants

Applicants must have a good working knowledge of English, which will be the only language of the Workshop. As indicated in the attached application form, selected participants will be invited to give a presentation of approximately 10 minutes on topics relevant to the Workshop objectives and programme.

Subject to the relevance of the topic of the submitted presentation to the discussions at the Workshop, it may be possible to schedule presentations of longer duration (up to 20 minutes).


6. Participation requirements

Applicants must have a university degree or well-established professional working experience in a field related to the overall theme of the Workshop. They should be working in academic institutions or with programmes, projects and enterprises which are already using remote sensing technology applications, or which could potentially benefit from using space technology. Special consideration will be given to active educators as well as policy- and decision- makers.

The co-sponsors of the Workshop will jointly select participants on a competitive basis. Selected participants will be notified by 25 August 2003.


7. Financial arrangements

Within the limited financial resources available to the co-sponsors, a number of selected participants from developing countries will be offered financial support to attend the Workshop and the IAF Congress. Funded participants will be provided with a return air ticket between the participant's international airport of departure and Bremen International Airport, Germany, and a daily subsistence allowance to cover board and lodging for the duration of the Workshop and the IAF Congress. Any en-route expenses or any changes made to the ticket will be at the participant's own expense.

Due to the limited availability of financial support, participants and their nominating organization are strongly encouraged to find additional sources of sponsorship to allow them to attend the Workshop. In the past, nominating organizations have often provided for air-travel of participants while all other expenses have been covered by the co-sponsors of the Workshop.

Funded participants will receive detailed information upon notification of their selection.


8. Deadline for Submission of Applications

A copy of the completed application form, properly endorsed by applicant's government/ institution, should be directly submitted to the

Office for Outer Space Affairs
United Nations Office at Vienna
Vienna International Centre
P.O. BOX 500
A-1400 Vienna, AUSTRIA
Fax: (+43-1) 26060-5830
Phone: (+43-1) 26060- 4948 or 4946
E-mail: oosa@unvienna.org

to reach the Office no later than 10 August 2003. The original of the completed application form should be submitted through the Office of the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in the applicant's country. Applications received at a later date will also be considered, but applicants may no longer be eligible for financial support.


9. Life and Health Insurance

Life/major health insurance for each of the selected participants is necessary and is the responsibility of the candidate or his/her institution or government. The co-sponsors will not assume any responsibility for life and major health insurance, nor for expenses related to medical treatment or accidental events.


10. Additional Information

For up-to-date information on this activity please also refer to the Office for Outer Space Affairs website at http://www.oosa.unvienna.org. The Office for Outer Space Affairs can also be reached by email oosa@unvienna.org.


11. Recommended reading

The above three documents are also available on request from the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (Email: Virginia.Ofoedu@unvienna.org).









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