VIENNA, 26 February (United Nations Information Service) - More than 100 decision-makers, experts, educators and other stakeholders from around the world have gathered in Islamabad this week to consider how space technology can help manage water resources. Co-organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW), the UN/Pakistan/PSIPW Fourth International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management runs from 26 February to 2 March. The conference is hosted by the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission on behalf of the Government of Pakistan, and co-sponsored by the Inter-Islamic Network on Space Science and Technology.
Space technologies, such as satellite remote sensing, have proven capabilities to meet challenges of water resource management. This is particularly important as rapid population growth and development pressures continue to impose additional stresses on scarce resources. Continuous Earth observation from space is crucial to manage water resources for the benefit of humankind and the environment, as well as to provide important forecasting services to prevent water-related disasters such as floods and droughts.
Remote sensing satellites provide data on several key water-related variables (for example, rainfall, precipitations, floods, droughts, water storage, soil moisture and evaporation) using spatial and temporal scales. A satellite-based approach for the assessment and management of water resources is especially important in countries and regions of the world where adequate hydrological networks do not exist.
"The applications of this technology have proven time and again to be cost effective, accurate and worthwhile in many areas, and undoubtedly efficient water management would be possible with the use of this technology. At this juncture, it is imperative to raise awareness amongst the policymakers to employ this technology in this and other allied fields," said Pakistan Federal Minister for Interior and Federal Minister for Planning Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal at the conference's opening ceremony on 26 February.
"At UNOOSA, we work to bring the benefits of space to everyone, everywhere. Considering that humankind must do more to preserve our precious water resources, it is of the utmost importance that we raise awareness of how to use space technologies to address water-related issues. This conference also demonstrates how space can contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 'Clean water and sanitation' and, by extension, all 17 Sustainable Development Goals," said UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo.
The conference consists of six main sessions:
1. Opening session on international initiatives integrating space technologies in water resource management
2. Space applications for water security and risk management
3. Geospatial information in water resource management
4. Using space technology to address water challenges in mountain regions
5. Capacity-building and cooperation initiatives
6. Case study presentations
The closing ceremony of the conference will take place at the Serena Hotel in the presence of Pakistan Federal Minister for Energy, Power Division, Awais Laghari.