UN/AUSTRIA SYMPOSIUM 2022
Space for climate action: experiences and best practices in
mitigating and adapting to climate change and supporting sustainability on Earth

13-15 September 2022
Online

Registration is open!

Click here to register.
Deadline for submission of abstract: 30 June 2022
Deadline for registration to attend online: 7 September 2022

Theme

The 2022 UN/Austria Symposium "Space for climate action: experiences and best practices in mitigating and adapting to climate change and supporting sustainability on Earth" will take place from 13 to 15 September online. The focus of the symposium is to showcase the most recent initiatives, experiences and best practices in mitigating and adapting to climate change and supporting sustainability on Earth. Further to creating awareness of how Member States use space technologies, the symposium will highlight how the space sector is being adapted to reduce its own impact on the climate crisis. The symposium would collect ideas and contributions to define future activities.

To raise awareness of relevant space-related activities, services and cooperation programmes among different user groups, the symposium will gather government officials, the diplomatic community, UN and international agencies as well as NGOs.

Background

The UN/Austria Symposium has taken place in Graz, Austria, since 1994. It is an activity of the Programme of Space Applications of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. Since the first symposium entitled "Enhancing Social, Economic and Environmental Security through Space Technology", more than 3,100 participants have attended the events. They addressed a variety of themes, ranging from security to youth, as well as the use of space for sustainable development, space accessibility, and international cooperation. The last edition focused on space applications for food systems in conjunction with the UN Food Systems Summit.

The symposia series has provided a forum for discussion between the different stakeholder groups of the wider space community, including the diplomatic community, the private sector and academia, as well as UN entities. The main purpose of the symposia remains to enable discussions on the use of space tools and applications, with an interdisciplinary viewpoint, addressing technology development and policymaking.

Objectives

The purpose of the symposium is to showcase the most recent initiatives where space technologies and space applications are actively contributing to mitigation and adaptation to climate change and to demonstrate how the space sector is being adapted to reduce its own impact on the climate crisis.

The symposium has the following objectives:

  • To promote the exchange of best practices and solutions to meet the demand and needs of developing countries in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
  • To demonstrate how initiatives based on space applications have been successfully developed and implemented in different countries.
  • To share experiences and explore how space-based services can be used to comply with or support policies about climate action according to national priorities, and how sustainability policies are being applied in the space sector.
  • To present available toolboxes that have already been implemented through case studies or pilot projects at a country level to comply with regulations related to climate action, with the aim of encouraging the adoption of tested tools and approaches.
  • To raise awareness of relevant space-related activities, services and cooperation programmes among different user groups, in particular government officials, the diplomatic community, UN and international agencies as well as NGOs.
  • To report to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space through the Scientific and Technical Sub-committee.

Programme

The symposium will address:

  • How space data, in particular from remote sensing and meteorology, are used for adaptation to the climate crisis in countries of various regions of the world, with a focus on recent innovations since 2020.
  • How to use space applications, such as Earth Observation, satellite telecommunications and satellite navigation, to mitigate the impact of contributors to the climate crisis, especially in the areas of transport, energy production, or food production, with a focus on recent innovations since 2020.
  • Changes in space engineering practices to reduce the contribution of space activities to the climate crisis, with innovation practices such as lifecycle assessment, design of spacecraft for demise, or greener technologies in space engineering, as well as regulatory incentives for their adoption.

The programme includes

  • Keynote presentations: Given by invited speakers.
  • Sessions: Presenters will make a full-length presentation followed by Q&A with the audience.
  • Panels: Roundtables during which speakers give short introductory statements, followed by a moderated discussion among speakers and Q&A with the audience.
  • Pitches: Short presentations introducing specific projects or initiatives in less than 5 minutes.

Before or after the symposium a series of trainings is being planned for participants to get acquainted with different data sources. There will also be networking opportunities for participants of the symposium.

Dates and Venue

The symposium will be held from 13 to 15 September 2022. The symposium will be held online via WebEx or a similar tool.

Working Methods

Speakers at the symposium are requested to deliver an oral presentation or a demonstration of a tool via the web-based communication platform. On Monday, 12 September 2022, presenters will have the opportunity to do a test run of their presentations online. Presentations made at the symposium will be published on the website of the Office for Outer Space Affairs (www.unoosa.org) prior to the symposium to facilitate the engagement of participants. 

Expected Participants

The symposium is aimed at members of the diplomatic community, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, research and development institutions, policy and decision-makers, senior experts, scientists, engineers and university educators, especially from developing countries.

Representatives from the various permanent missions of United Nations Member States in Vienna will be invited to the symposium, along with representatives from various United Nations agencies and other international organisations, with the aim of promoting dialogue not only between policy-makers but also with the private sector and end-users. Representatives from the space applications industry are also welcome to attend and present their solutions.

The Office for Outer Space Affairs is committed to supporting gender mainstreaming in its programmes and advocates for balanced representation from different perspectives.

Sponsorship of the Symposium

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Austria are responsible for organising the Symposium. It is supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, the European Space Agency, AUSTROSPACE, the City of Graz, the Province of Styria, Joanneum Research and the Graz University of Technology.

Language of the Symposium

The working language of the symposium is English.

Call for Abstracts

The call for abstracts is open until 30 June 2022. If you would like to give a presentation, please submit the completed application form together with a presentation abstract. 

Please indicate which topic applies to your presentation:

(1)    Case studies, ideally at the country-level, on using space data for adaptation to the climate crisis;
(2)    Specific recent innovative use of space applications to mitigate the impact of contributors to the climate crisis, in the areas of transport, energy production, or food production; OR
(3)    Changes in space engineering practices to reduce the contribution of space activities to the climate crisis.

Registration of Participants

Registration to attend the symposium online is open until 7 September 2022. The registration form is available here.

Online participation will be accepted until the maximum technical capacity of the web-based communication platform is reached.

Point of Contact

For additional information, please contact  unoosa-events@un.org

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