The Earth as seen from the Moon. Photo: NASAUnited Nations/Austria Symposium on
"Access to Space: Holistic Capacity-Building for the 21st Century"

Graz, Austria, 3 - 7 September 2017

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Background

At its Fifty-ninth Session in June 2016, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space endorsed seven thematic priorities for the implementation of UNISPACE+50, including "Capacity-building for the twenty-first century" (Thematic Priority 7 of UNISPACE+50, TP7) which is the most cross-cutting aspect of the initiative. Member States seek to define new innovative and effective approaches to overall capacity-building and development needs as a fundamental pillar of global space governance

The Symposium will build around innovative approaches to capacity-building in the space sector, including the need to measure progress and development. The determination of the long term impact of an activity can be a challenging task but can be overcome by creating a set of standardized set of Space Capabilities indicators covering all space related domains and applications and will provide orientation to countries in the evaluation of their capabilities and their prioritization. Therefore, this set of indicators becomes a key decision support tool for countries in space related matters. It could also serve the Office for Outer Space Affairs to measure the impact of its activities and can help propose targeted initiatives by identifying gaps or areas of improvement.

Based on the 2016 United Nations/International Astronautical Federation Workshop on Space Technology for Socioeconomic Benefits: Integrated Space Technologies and Applications for a Better Society in Guadalajara, Mexico [1], which recommended that the Office for Outer Space Affairs should develop a space capacity index and a space solutions compendium, the Symposium will provide a unique opportunity to discuss 'Access to Space: Holistic Capacity-Building for the 21st Century' and the contributions of space technology and its applications for sustainable development in the light of the technical, legal, political, regulatory developments.

The Office for Outer Space Affairs of the United Nations and Austria are responsible for organizing the Symposium. The European Space Agency (ESA), Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Joanneum Research, NPOC Space Law University of Vienna, the Graz University of Technology, Austrospace, the Municipality of Graz, the Government of Austria, the State of Styria, the Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology are supporting the Symposium.


[1] A/AC.105/1128 Report on the United Nations/International Astronautical Federation Workshop on Space Technology for Socioeconomic Benefits: Integrated Space Technologies and Applications for a Better Society

 

Symposium Objectives

This Symposium is the flagship event towards UNISPACE+50 Thematic Priority 7 (TP7). Under TP7, the office is starting a pilot project on a Space for Development Profile (SDP), to create a profile of the space domain of countries, and a Space Solutions Compendium (SSC), to provide solutions to improve the indicators defined in the SDP.

The Symposium will be an opportunity to open a dialogue on TP7 to discuss innovative approaches to capacity-building in the space domain, particularly in the areas of applications and technology, policy and law including the need to measure progress and development, identification of partners, tools for capacity-building and funding opportunities and aims at providing recommendations to COPUOS for UNISPACE+50 concerning this Thematic Priority.

The Symposium will deliver plans and identify required partnerships for consideration by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space for its strategy towards Space2030 . Its objectives are to:

  • Identify innovative and effective approaches to overall capacity-building;
  • Discuss infrastructure for cross-sectoral and integrated applications;
  • Enhance existing partnerships and forge new ones for capacity-building and institutional support;
  • Promote participation of women and youth in space science;
  • Provide recommendations on the Space for Development Profile and Space Solutions Compendium;
  • Discuss the role of the regional centres for capacity-building
  • Discuss the role of UNOOSA in implementing capacity-building activities, particularly in developing countries

For the SDP and SSC, the particular objectives are:

  • Provide measurable indicators of space capabilities and space applications currently used in a country
  • Enable the identification of long term plans for developing its space capabilities based on the indicators, targeting the needs of each country
  • Support Result-Based Management (RBM)
  • Offer a catalogue of solutions which can be used to enhance particular indicators

UNISPACE+50

The Symposium will deliver plans and identify required partnerships for consideration by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space for its strategy towards Space 2030. Additionally, it could consider the following issues for recommendations to UNISPACE+50:

  • Identify and propose new and innovative capacity-building approaches to UNISPACE+50, including recommendations on tools and means to be used, supporting a Result Based Management approach for capacity-building.

  • Propose holistic solutions on space capacity-building encompassing from space law to space applications and technologies;

  • Provide recommendations on partnerships for capacity-building considering the existing ones and potential ones as identified during the Symposium

  • Recommendations for the way forward on the Space for Development Profile and Space Solutions Compendium based on the results of the pilot projects.

  • Provide recommendations specifically targeted at the promotion the participation of women and youth in space science

  • Provide recommendations on the role of UNOOSA for the implementation of TP7

Symposium Programme

The programme will include plenary sessions and sufficient time for discussions among participants to identify the priority areas where pilot projects should be launched and examine possible partnerships that could be established. Pending the discussions in the Scientific Programme Committee the preliminary list of sessions is as follows

Thematic Sessions
Session 0: Challenges for Capacity-Building
  • Inputs and experiences from participants
Session 1: Tools and technologies for capacity-building in the 21 st Century
  • Theories on and approaches to technological, economic, and social development making use of space technologies and applications will be presented and discussed.
  • Experiences, results and lessons learnt will be explained and reflected.
  • Novel tools for capacity-building in space technology and space law shall be presented and identified.
Session 2: Infrastructure for capacity-building
  • Presentation and identification of infrastructure necessary for technological, economic, and social development in general
  • Access to Space
  • Discussion on the need of platforms and infrastructures available for capacity-building and access to space in space technology and space law
Session 3: Workshop UNOOSA pilot project on Space for Development Profile and Space Solutions Compendium
  • The pilot project initiated by UNOOSA will be presented
  • A panel discussion will address the intended outcomes and potential improvements.

Participants are encouraged to present their approaches to capacity-building and how results of such activities could be measured.

Session 4: Workshop on specific tools for Space Law Capacity-Building (organised by DLR)
  • Cologne Commentary on Space Law
  • A future Space Law Compendium as an outcome of UNISPACE+50
Session 5: How to attract women and youth to space-related careers
  • The educational situation of women and youth in a global perspective
  • Women and youth in space technology and space law
  • Initiatives in schools, universities and online platforms will be presented and discussed.
Session 6: Workshop on model curricula for space technology and space law
  • This session will focus on the usefulness of model curricula for capacity-building.
  • At the example of the curricula developed by UNOOSA on space technology and on space law, lessons learnt from their development will be discussed.
  • The Workshop aims at identifying ways and means of their appropriate use and implementation.
Session 7: Institutional Capacity-Building
  • The activities carried out by various institutions in the area of economic and technological development will be presented. Experiences and lessons learnt will be discussed.
  • Initiatives of UNOOSA and lessons learnt will be presented, including the regional centres
Session 8: UNISPACE+50
  • This session will be focussing on the contributions of the Graz Symposium towards UNISPACE+50 and the next steps
Discussion Sessions
  • Issues, concerns and approaches for pilot projects/initiatives, requirements of implementing, mechanisms and resources of implementing
  • Possible follow-up projects and initiatives and proposals for future Symposiums/training courses/technical seminars

Kindly note that the Symposium organizers may modify the number and themes of sessions of the final programme.

The sessions will be supplemented by a poster session.

The co-sponsors will also organize an attractive programme of side-events for all Symposium participants. The detailed Symposium programme will be made available on this website.

Participation Requirements and Qualifications

Symposium participants should be involved in the planning or implementation of space technology development activities in international or national space agencies, governmental or non-governmental organizations, research institutions, industry, universities or other academic institutions. Participants are expected to have obtained university degrees in relevant fields of study or should be enrolled in relevant studies. Professional working experience in one of the fields related to the theme of the Symposium is desirable. Applications from qualified female applicants are particularly encouraged. Invited participants will receive a formal invitation letter.

Financial Support

Applicants and their nominating organizations are strongly encouraged to find their own sources of sponsorship to participate in the Symposium. However, within the limited financial resourcesavailable to the co-sponsors, a number of qualified applicants from developing countries expressing the need for financial support will be offered financial support to attend the Symposium. This may include the provision of a round-trip air ticket between Cape Town and the applicant's international airport of departure and/or room and board for the duration of the Symposium. En-route and other expenses or any changes made to an air ticket provided by the co-sponsors must be borne by the participants.

Applicants expressing the need for funding support will be selected on a competitive basis based on their qualifications and expected contributions to the Symposium. All funded applicants are required to make a presentation related to the Symposium theme.

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