For information only - not an official document

22 April 2014

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs:

Message on International Mother Earth Day

VIENNA, 22 April (UN Information Service) - This year International Mother Earth Day is focusing on green cities and the goal of sustainable, healthy environments through greening initiatives in communities worldwide. Greener cities will help to mitigate the deepening effects of climate change and population growth.

Space-based technologies provide systematic observation of Earth by monitoring the atmosphere, land and oceans. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) facilitates the global coordination of space-based technologies to help tackle climate change and achieve sustainable development.

Space-based technologies assist in the greening of cities by measuring the level of air pollution and the impact of energy use in urban areas. Spin-offs of space technology are also being used in cities to improve the generation, transmission and use of energy. Computer systems using space-based data  assist with the greening of cities by mapping resources, such as wind and solar energy, to determine the best locations for harnessing alternative energy. These systems also monitor carbon emissions to allow for better planning for green spaces and the data gathered assists with land use, zoning, and development planning. Space technologies also intensify water pollution prevention in human settlements by introducing technologies for affordable sanitation and industrial and domestic waste water treatment.

The contribution of space-based technology for climate change adaptation and mitigation is a topic for discussion during the forthcoming session of UN-Space, the United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities, held from 13 to 14 May in New York. In 2013, the  UN-Space open informal session focused on resilient human settlements, where the discussion reconfirmed the importance of space-based tools and spatial data infrastructure for policy planners and decision makers in increasing the resilience of sustainable cities. In its efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and population growth, the Office, through the  United Nations Platform for Space-based information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), makes space technologies available for humanitarian aid and emergency response. UN-SPIDER focuses on the need to ensure access to and use of such solutions during all phases of the disaster management cycle.

UNOOSA has conducted a variety of awareness and training activities on the topics of climate change and on Space Technology Applications for Socioeconomic Benefits, including in priority areas highlighted by the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ("Rio+20") (energy, cities, food, water, oceans and disasters). For more information, click on the following link

In celebrating Earth Day, the Office for Outer Space Affairs is happy to announce the launch of the new Twitter account of OOSA Director, Simonetta Di Pippo. Follow her at @SDiPippo_OOSA where she will be tweeting about OOSA activities and her vision, work  and opinions on the importance of space exploration for humankind and the need for international cooperation in space activities.

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For further information, please contact:

Sinead  Harvey 
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) 
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-8718 
Email: sinead.harvey[at]

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