United Nations/United States of America Workshop on the International Space Weather Initiative: The Decade after the International Heliophysical Year 2007

Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, United States of America, 31 July - 4 August, 2017


Organized jointly by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Boston College

Co-organized and co-sponsored by the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG) and the Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP)


Available Information

Report of the Workshop



The International Heliophysical Year 2007 (IHY) drew scientists and engineers from around the globe in a coordinated observation campaign of the heliosphere and its effects on planet Earth. Building on these activities, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space launched the International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI) in 2009.

ISWI is a program of international cooperation to advance space weather science by a combination of instrument deployment, analysis and interpretation of space weather data from these instruments in conjunction with space data, and the communication of the results to the public. While the ISWI was formally concluded as an agenda item of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in 2012, its activities continue under the framework of a new agenda item on Space Weather and under the Expert Group on Space Weather, established by the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee.

The present Workshop marks the 10 th anniversary of IHY, and will consider future international cooperation in space weather activities linked to the preparations for the 50 th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE+50) under its thematic priority 4. "International framework for space weather services".

For details, see Information Note

The Workshop will also be informed about the preparations towards UNISPACE+50, which will be held in 2018.


Thematic Sessions

As a preliminary suggestions the following are the three components of the workshop. These components of the workshop will help develop a coherent international policy towards an appropriate response to space weather.

Part 1: A high level international forum on the economic and societal effects of extreme space weather. This forum will include keynote speakers from major international organizations followed by a panel session to discuss issues and policies for acknowledging space weather as a global challenge.

Part 2: International Space Weather Initiative session focusing on, but not limited to:

  • Instrumentation
  • Magnetosphere, Ionosphere, and Thermosphere
  • Coupling
  • Modelling
  • Capacity-building, Education and Outreach

Part 3: A flagship event for UNISPACE+50 will be focusing on international framework for space weather services

Objectives and Expected Outcomes

The main focus of this workshop will be on recent advances made in scientific research by utilizing ISWI instrument data in conjunction with space mission data in adding significant new knowledge on space weather phenomena near Earth and interplanetary space. It is to highlight achievements made over the past ten years and to show-case the worldwide development of science, capacity building, and outreach

In order to strengthen the ongoing processes in the lead up to UNISPACE+50, the specific objectives of the workshop will be to:

  • Strengthen international coordination and cooperation on space weather products and services, indirectly contributing to the thematic priorities: Global partnership in space exploration and innovation; International framework for space weather services and Capacity-building for the twenty-first century;
  • Continue efforts in space weather education, especially also for students from developing nations. IHY and ISWI have contributed to significant progress in the development of space science schools that encourage students to consider a career in space science;
  • Develop a coherent international policy towards an appropriate response to space weather.

The expected outcomes of the workshop are:

  • Creation of an international coordination mechanisms of operational space weather services, including monitoring, forecasting, awareness raising, with the overall goal to protect life, property and critical infrastructure;
  • Recommendations for improved collection, exchange and delivery of space weather data, as well as improved operational analysis, modelling and forecasting methods through the promotion of best practices, suggestions of means to improve accuracy, reliability and interoperability.


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