Environmental Monitoring and Natural Resource Management

The Millennium Declaration, adopted in September 2000 by all 189 Member States of the United Nations at that time, defines a key framework for global cooperation in the 21st century. The grand vision described in the Declaration addresses issues related to peace, cooperation and development, calling for the eradication of poverty, the promotion of human dignity and equality, and the achievement of peace, democracy and environmental sustainability.

Space and space-based technologies offer significant and unique solutions to many of the target goals set by the Millennium Declaration. Additionally, the contribution of space science and technology was also well identified during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002, where the WSSD Plan of Implementation makes explicit reference to the utilisation of space-based facilities for the support and implementation of sustainable development actions.

The   UNISPACE III Conference led to defining a strategy to address global changes in the future, and to a number of actions resulting in concrete initiatives applying space technologies for that purpose, and for societal benefits in general. 
Space applications already play an important role in the areas of natural resources management and environmental observations or assessments. The Office thus supports developing countries in incorporating space-based solutions for solving environmental and natural resources related problems.

Remotely sensed data, in particular, provide an unparalleled view of the Earth for studies that require synoptic or periodic observations such as inventory, surveying, agriculture, hydrology, geology, mountain ecological studies, mineralogy, land cover or land use. Space-derived information, its analysis and its visualization, offer substantial input into decision-making processes throughout the world today, and can become even more critical in actions developed towards achieving internationally agreed sustainable development goals, in line with ongoing efforts to define those goals in the post-2015 development agenda.

The Programme on Space Applications organizes workshops and meetings as well as supports relevant projects to assist developing countries in the use of space-based solutions for better managing their natural resources and their environment, for identifying change, concrete threats and challenges. This also enables sharing of experiences and knowledge with the aim of further enhancing the use of space technology and its applications.

Concrete short or long-term training and capacity building is also provided in the same context through the  Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education affiliated to the United Nations.

Remote sensing is a rapidly growing technology and an important spin-off of space applications and space science, having evolved into a discipline together other disciplines such as photogrammetry, cartography, geodetic reference systems, global navigation satellite systems or geographic information systems.
This area of work within the Programme builds upon the goals addressed in the UN Millennium Declaration, the WSSD Implementation Plan and the work of the Scientific and Technical Sub-committee of COPUOS.
Specific workshops and meetings are organised to help define regional plan-of-actions and pilot projects, while training is provided through the UN-Affiliated Regional Centres and through the earlier series of International Training Courses on Remote Sensing Education for Educators (supported by Sweden in the past).

Often, these activities are carried out in collaboration with other UN agencies such as UNEP, FAO, WFP or UNESCO.
Significant achievements include the International Water Portal project developed in 2012 in a joint effort with the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW), aimed at creation of a comprehensive on-line forum and database for professionals involved in water management (the Portal can be accessed at:  http://water-portal.com) or the early distribution of the global LANDSAT datasets in African countries, to ensure their better access to critical baseline information and knowledge about their environment. 

Upcoming Events

United Nations/Iran Workshop on the Use of Space Technology for Dust Storm and Drought Monitoring,  26-30 September 2015,Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran 

To address topics related to the use of space technologies in drought monitoring as well as for dust storm tracking and monitoring. A particular focus will be on the Central Asia area, often affected by such environmental phenomena. Also, in collaboration with UNEP, the Caspian convention Secretariat and other stakeholders, a session will consider specific benefits of space tools in the wider environmental monitoring of the Caspian Sea basin. Knowledge will be exchanged on various applications in these domains and applicability of existing drought monitoring systems to the region as well, addressing specific concerns of the host Government and neighbouring countries.

United Nations/International Astronautical Federation Workshop on Space Technology for Socio-Economic Benefits "Water Resources Management", 9-11 October 2015, Jerusalem, Israel

To discuss space technologies, applications, information and services that contribute to sustainable economic and social development programmes, with a primary focus on the use of space technology for water resources management; increase awareness among decision makers and representatives of the research and academic community of space technology applications for addressing economic development; examine low-cost space-related technologies and information resources in the above thematic areas available for addressing economic development needs in developing countries; promote educational and public awareness initiatives as well as contribute to the capacity-building process in these areas; and strengthen international and regional cooperation on the subjects.

Past Events

2nd UN/Argentina International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management, co-organized by ESA and Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, 14-18 March 2011, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Conference is a follow-up to the conference on the same subject held in 2008 in Saudi Arabia, and it will continue discussions on how space technology can contribute in better management of water resources, including combating desertification, ensuring access to safe drinking water and managing water-related emergencies in developing countries.

UN/Bolivia/ESA Workshop on Integrated Space Technologies in the Mountain Regions of the Andean Countries

The primary objective of the workshop is to discuss how remote sensing, satellite communications and GNSS can be used in projects in sustainable development in mountainous areas, with the aim of developing priorities for building capacity in remote sensing for the benefit of mountainous regions.

Workshop on Applications of Tele-health to Service Delivery in Public Health and Environment, 27-30 July 2009, Thimphu, Bhutan

United Nations/Austria/ESA Symposium on Integrated Space Technologies Applications - to Support the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development,  8-11 September 2009, Gratz, Austria

This symposium is the 7th in a series of consecutive Symposia held since 2003 aiming at promoting the use of integrated space technologies and their applications to support actions called for in the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Topics will focus on the issues under consideration in the thematic cluster of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Details will be provided later.

A/AC.105/966

United Nations/Peru/ESA/UNEP/UNESCO Workshop on Integrated Space Technologies Applications for Sustainable Development in the Mountain Regions of Andean Countries,  14 - 19 September 2009,  Lima, Peru

This workshop is the forth of the series on using integrated space technologies that include remote sensing, satellite navigation, and satellite communications for sustainable development in the mountain regions, following the workshops/expert meetings held in Nepal (2004, 2006) and Argentina (2007). The objectives are: to introduce the concept of space applications to mountain area, to discuss ways and means of carrying out the pilot project initiated from the 2007 Argentina workshop. This workshop will be held in conjunction with a ESA and Spot Image cosponsored training course on remote sensing software, within the framework of the Planet Action initiative.

United Nations/UNESCO/Saudi Arabia International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management, 12 - 16 April 2008, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 

Using space technologies to assist in the water management to increase water resources and mitigate water related environmental problems such as drought, flood, and pollution. Topics will include: rain water harvesting methods, ground water recharge storage basin, sedimentation control in surface water systems, exploration and assessment of ground water, and water demand management in urban areas.   
Using space technology to detect archaeological water systems such as canat that can be inspired for modern day use to satisfy our needs for water. Those ancient water systems were designed to efficiently deliver large quantities of subterranean water to the surface and allows water to be transported long distances in hot dry climates without losing a large proportion of the source water to seepage and evaporation. The Conference will explore such ancient systems using space technologies such as remote sensing, and how these systems can be used to satisfy modern need of water, particularly to improve land use and agriculture activities, and to increase the search for surface or underground water sources. This is with the effort of linking traditional and ancient methods to modern needs.

United Nations/Austria/ESA Symposium on Space Tools and Solutions for Monitoring the Atmosphere and Land Cover, 9 - 12 September 2008 ,  Graz, Austria

This will be the sixth in a series of consecutive Symposia held since 2003 aiming to promote the use of demonstrated capabilities of space technologies and their applications to support actions called for in the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Topics will focus on the interaction between land-cover and the atmosphere including issues such as agriculture, rural development, land, drought and desertification, which have also been identified as issues under consideration in the thematic cluster of the Commission on Sustainable Development for the two-year cycle 2008/2009. Participants will review the outcome and recommendations of the previous symposia in the series in light of recent developments, report on ongoing follow-up activities as well as consider additional activities. It is also anticipated that the Symposium will provide input for selecting the theme and content for the forthcoming series of symposia.

United Nations/International Astronautical Federation Workshop on Integrated Space Technology Applications - Support to Managing Potentially Hazardous Environmental Events, 26 - 27 September 2008, Glasgow, Scotland

  The use of space-based services in support of activities aimed at improving a range of emergency management planning and response work coupled with advancing hazard mitigation practices. The workshop aims to provide information on wide range of space based services available to support the theme - from short term emergency planning to long term planning for mitigation - as well as looking at links to the environmental consequences. Existing systems and concepts will be discussed in order to synergise efforts and avoid duplication to ensure the best use of available funds.

United Nations/Kenya/ESA Regional Workshop on Integrated Space Technology Applications for Monitoring Climate Change Impact on Agricultural Development and Food Security, 1- 5 December 2008,  Nairobi, Kenya

The primary objective of this Regional Workshop is to use integrated space technologies such as remote sensing and GIS, navigation and positioning, telecommunications, satellite meteorology, and Earth observations in applications that could contribute to the prevention and mitigation of global climate change induced issues. The issued to be focused in this workshop are: prediction, monitoring and early warning of climate related disasters and environmental hazards such as flood, drought, and desertification; and improvement of regional food security such as sustainable agricultural development, land use and land cover change. This workshop aims at raising awareness of national and regional decision makers and professionals on the potential utilization of space technology applications, to exchange experience, and to initiating practical pilot projects.

United Nations/Morocco/European Space Agency International Workshop on the Use of Space Technology for Sustainable Development, 25-27 April 2007, Rabat, Marocco 

The workshop will focus on increasing the awareness of decision-makers on the use of Earth Observation Satellites for environmental monitoring. The workshop participants will exchange views on the space technology applied in their respective countries and define the infrastructure of regional cooperative mechanisms. The possibilities of developing and implementing pilot projects in the region will be considered. This workshop is an application to the CSD Cluster #14 for Africa.

UN/Russia/European Space Agency Workshop on the Use of Micro-Satellite Technologies for Environmental Monitoring and Impact to Human Health,3 - 7 September 2007, Moscow, Russia 

The workshop will review the use of micro-satellite technologies in detecting of potentially dangerous and catastrophic phenomena on the earth's surface, in the atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetosphere; and in particular, influence of low-frequency disturbances of Earth's magnetic field on the health of humans and living organisms. The workshop will also address aerospace biomedicine and biology issues, as well as the use of micro-satellites for space education in environmental monitoring.

UN/Austria/ESA Symposium on Space Applications to Support the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development: "Space Tools and Solutions for Monitoring the Atmosphere in Support of Sustainable Development, 11-14 September 2007, Gratz, Austria"

This symposium is the 2nd of a series of three consecutive symposia with the overarching theme "Space Applications for Sustainable Development: Supporting the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development" (A/AC.869, para 44, (d)). This symposium will examine the benefits of space science and technology and their applications, explore the possibilities to develop and implement pilot projects in the area of monitoring air pollution and energy use, and address the issues related to policy development.

United Nations/International Astronautical Federation Workshop on the Use of Space Technology for Sustainable Development Towards Food Security,21 - 23 September 2007, Hyderabad, India

The Workshop will review initiatives in the area of space science and technology applied to sustainable development of food security that leads to poverty eradication in developing countries that are being carried out by various entities through international cooperation and to look for ways to build synergies among them.

United Nations/Vietnam/European Space Agency Workshop on Forest Management and Environmental Protection, 5 - 9 November 2007,Hanoi, Viet Nam

The objectives of this regional Workshop is to increase the awareness of managers and decision makers dealing with environmental issues of the potential benefits of using space technologies within the area of forest management, environmental security, natural hazard prevention and mitigation.

United Nations/Argentina/European Space Agency Workshop on Sustainable Development in Mountain Areas of Andean Countries,26 - 30 November 2007, Mendoza, Argentina

The primary objective is to discuss how remote sensing, satellite communications and GNSS can be used in projects in sustainable development in mountainous areas, with the aim of developing priorities for building capacity in remote sensing for the benefit of mountainous regions. The Workshop program will include case studies in the application of remote sensing to mountain areas of Andean Countries.

United Nations/European Space Agency /ICIMOD Expert Meeting on the Remote Sensing Projects for the Hindu-Kush-Himalaya region, Kathmandu, Nepal, 6 - 10 March 2006,Kathmandu, Nepal 

The objectives of this meeting is to review satellite-based remote sensing projects relevant to the Hindu-Kush-Himalaya region, including pilot projects that were proposed at a previous workshop. The meeting aims at initiating a new module for Eduspace "Himalayas from Space". This module will contain case studies. Participants will submit proposals and continue to improve the design of their case studies.

The 1st UN/Austria/ESA Symposium on "Space Tools for Monitoring Air Pollution and Managing Energy Resources", 12-15 September 2006, Graz, Austria

The symposium will examine the benefits of space science and technology and their applications to address various issues relating to United Nations global agendas for development.

A/AC.105/877

UN/Austria/ESA Symposium on Space Applications to Support the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, 13 - 16 September 2005, Graz, Austria

The symposium will examine the benefits of space science and technology and their applications to address various issues relating to United Nations global agendas for development.

A/AC.105/844

United Nations / Sudan Workshop on the Use of Space Technology for Natural Resources Management, Environmental Monitoring and Disaster Management 5 - 9 April 2004, Khartoum, Sudan

The ultimate goal of this workshop is to facilitate the implementation of space technologies into operational programmes in Africa and Western Asia, focusing on increasing the awareness of managers and decision-makers of the potential benefits of using space-based technologies in programmes dedicated to Natural Resource Management, Environmental Monitoring and Disaster Management, and developing a regional plan-of-action that will lead to pilot projects tailored for the specific needs of the region.

United Nations/Islamic Republic of Iran Workshop on the Use of Space Technology for Environmental Security, Disaster Rehabilitation and Sustainable Development, 8 - 12 May 2004  ,  Tehran, Iran

The objectives of this Regional Workshop are: increase the awareness of managers and decision makers dealing with environmental issues and disaster problems of the potential benefits of using space technologies within the area of environmental security, disaster rehabilitation, post-conflict reconstruction, refugee support and sustainable development; strengthen existing Regional Networks; and develop a Plan-of-Action with recommendations that will guide the incorporation of the use of space technologies in the above areas.

United Nations/Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission Seminar on Space Technology Applications: Monitoring and Protection of the Natural Environment, 30 August - 4 September 2004, Islamabad, Pakistan

To evaluate a local impact of the series of the UN/Sweden training Courses, to find the major reasons for a high/low rate of success in implementing the knowledge received in Sweden, and to identify the nature and scope of possible support to ensure that on-going efforts have established firm roots within the educational communities in developing countries of the Region. The seminar will also allow reviewing the present course content/format with a view of implementing changes if deemed necessary. It will also allow to upgrade the former participants' knowledge of current remote sensing techniques and teaching methods.

UN/Austria/ESA Symposium on Space Applications for Sustainable Development to Support the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, 13 - 16 September 2004, Graz, Austria

To identify ways and means to use space technology application to support the management of water resources. While the issues covered, technical presentations and discussions will be at the international level, particular attention will be paid to activities currently being carried out under Module 2 of the CEOS World Summit on Sustainable Development Follow up Programme. This Symposium in linked to the TIGER project, which is ESA's contribution to the 2004 activities of Module 2.

United Nations/European Space Agency/Austria/Switzerland Workshop on Remote Sensing in the Service of Sustainable Development in Mountain Areas, 15 - 19 November 2004, Kathmandu, Nepal

The primary objective of the workshop is to discuss how remote sensing, satellite communications and GNSS can be used in projects in sustainable development in mountainous areas, with the aim of developing priorities for building capacity in remote sensing for the benefit of mountainous regions.

 

 

 

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