IAA Heads of Space Agencies Summit
on Climate Change and Disaster Management
September 18, 2015
Mexico City, Mexico

Opening Remarks by

Simonetta Di Pippo

Director, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

Honourable Minister, Heads of Space Agencies, colleagues, ladies and gentleman.

I am delighted to be here to address you at this opening ceremony of the "International Academy of Astronautics` Heads of Space Agencies Summit on Climate Change and Disaster Management."

As I mentioned yesterday in my keynote address at the IAA Climate Change and Disaster Management Conference, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 defines 7 global targets for which global and national indicators are being defined. We are expecting from New York in less than 2 week time a pledge from world leaders for 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets. In addition, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December will as well define common goals and national targets. I truly believe that these three agendas offer a great opportunity for us actors in space-based Earth observation to work together and really bring the benefits of our data, information, products and services to nations which will face tremendous challenges in reaching the long-term vision defined by the development agendas.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that will be agreed upon in Ney York this month provides us with the global umbrella to look at the role of space-based technology and applications for development as a whole, not solely in the separate areas of disaster risk reduction and climate change. The 5 Ps of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: PEOPLE, PLANET, PROSPERITY, PEACE and PARTNERSHIP are not only catchy UN keywords, but are also the pillars required for a good integration of the frameworks of Sendai, New York and Paris for the next 15 years and beyond.

Space agencies worldwide need closer coordination concerning sensors needed, data distribution mechanisms and for the promotion of Earth and they need to develop stronger and innovative synergies. The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) are preparing to support such initiatives and to promote coordination and collaboration for those challenges we face.

In 2018, UNOOSA will be organising the UNISPACE +50 Conference, so-called to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. UNISPACE+50 will be an important milestone, which will take stock of the contributions of the three UNISPACE conferences to global space governance (UNISPACE I, held in 1968, UNISPACE II, held in 1982 and UNISPACE III, held in 1999). UNISPACE +50 will also consider the current status and chart the future role of the Committee at a time when actors, both governmental and non-governmental, are increasingly getting involved in ventures to explore space and carry out space activities.

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, there is a growing recognition that this major target argues for stronger space governance and supporting structures at all levels, including improved spatial data infrastructure.  UNISPACE+50 will align to the 2030 Agenda where stronger space governance and supporting structures are required to protect the space environment and to secure the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

At the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Sendai, Japan, in March of this year, UNOOSA, took a leading role in ensuring that Earth observation and the use of space-based technologies be included in the "Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: 2015-2030". During the Conference, UNOOSA, alongside our partners, launched the Global Earth Observation Partnership which aims to ensure the inclusion of Earth Observation and satellite-based tools into global efforts for disaster risk reduction and to develop a synergy framework for Earth observations in support of national strategies for disaster-risk management. We will continue working closely though this Partnership to develop concrete services to governments in measuring and monitoring their progress towards the development goals. I trust that today, this Summit will open a new world of opportunities that the Partnership, and UNOOSA, can build upon.

I will be leading my team at UNOOSA in taking part in all necessary platforms to ensure space-based technology and applications have a key role during the years to come, not only in disaster risk reduction but also in all other relevant areas of work, including climate change, global health, environment and in new and innovative partnership development.

We know here that Earth Observation brings together communities and illustrates the interdisciplinary cooperation between space-based organisations and end-users. However, we need to demonstrate how we can play a stronger role in the global development agenda, using space technology as an enabler and a mean to help implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and monitor its progress.

I end in thanking IAA and the Mexican Space Agency for the invitation and for facilitating my participation to this promising summit.

SDP, 18 September 2015, Mexico DF

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