Graz Panorama

United Nations/Austria Symposium: "Space: a Tool for Accessibility, Diplomacy and Cooperation"

 UN/Austria Symposium - 25th Anniversary

Graz, Austria, 2-4 September 2019


Available Information



The UN/Austria Symposium is one of the long-standing activities that are performed under the Programme of Space Applications of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. It has been organized in Graz since 1994, marking this year the 25 th anniversary of the first Symposium entitled "Enhancing Social, Economic and Environmental Security through Space Technology". The topic proposed for this year is "Space: A tool for Accessibility, Diplomacy and Cooperation". It will build upon the past 24 years of UN/Austria Symposia, using some of the four pillars developed during the preparatory process for the UNISPACE+50 anniversary event in June 2018 to structure the sessions, in particular, Space Diplomacy and Space Accessibility:

 -        Space Diplomacy will aim at providing a view of how space is a tool for cooperation and diplomacy. Therefore, a session focused on those aspects will be included. This session is an opportunity for the diplomatic community to provide examples of how space is used in their respective countries and showcase this use for development and cooperation, and how cooperation with other countries or international organizations has contributed to the development of space activities.

-         Space Accessibility relates to the use by all communities of space data and technology.  Space Accessibility is a two-way avenue, on one hand, it requires the availability of systems and that can be accessed by of user communities. It is quite common that users are not aware of the availability or the capabilities space-based services. On the other hand, Space Accessibility requires understanding the needs and capabilities of the people who will be using space-based services, the design of these services, requires understanding of what users need. will aim at providing a view on user needs and solutions. The block devoted to solutions will be split in two subtopics, namely space derived services for development and global solutions for local problems.

The main objective of this symposium is to foster dialogue between the diplomatic community and those communities using space, exploring ways to utilize space related activities and services as a tool for diplomacy, and cooperation, stimulating access to space related services that are available and accessible by different countries.

Thematic Sessions

Session 1: Space Diplomacy: Space as a Tool for Cooperation and Development

  • Space diplomacy, built on existing norms and negotiated treaties, refers to cooperation among nations on the basis of equal engagement and mutual respect, with the overall goal being to address the common challenges facing humanity and to build constructive, knowledge-based partnerships.
  • The continuous growth and diversification of space activities can be attributed to combined and sustained efforts undertaken at the national, regional and global levels to foster international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, in particular within the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, as the main international platform for facilitating that cooperation, supported by the Office for Outer Space Affairs.

The objective of this session is to discuss how space is used in their respective countries and showcase this use for development and cooperation. This session covers the use of space from different points of view, such as policy, legal, science and technology.

Session 2: Space Accessibility: User Needs

  • This session focuses on needs that be addressed by space technology or data, in particular:

- Disaster management
- Water Management
- Agriculture
- Health and Medicine
- Fisheries
- Natural resources monitoring
- Urban planing and cadaster

Session 3: Space Accessibility: Space Derived Services for Development (this session will include a demo session)

  • Space can support the achievement of approximately 40 percent of the Sustainable Development Goal and associated targets. This session aims at exploring available services, demonstrating how they can be accessed and used to support the advance of the development at country level according to the national priorities and to the Sustainable Development Goals. This session will be followed by a demo session where different services will be showcased.

Session 4: Space Accessibility: Global Solutions for Local Problems

  • Space can be used not only to address global problems, but also local ones, a good example is location-based services, which are assisting users to find local hospitals or emergency services. This session is devoted to services that have a local component or are enriched by local or locally collected data.The session will be followed by a demo session showcasing the services.

Objectives and Expected Outcomes

The specific objectives of the workshop will be to:

  1. Make a balance of the past 25 years of the UN/Austria Symposium, its recommendations and achievements
  2. Provide a good overview of Space Accessibility and Space Diplomacy as tools for cooperation and development
  3. Give visibility to users and services, demonstrating how space services can address global and local problems

The expected outcomes of the workshop are:

  1. recommendations and findings on discussed topics to be adopted by the workshop participants;
  2. preliminary agreement of cooperation between countries and international institutions;
  3. action plan addressing identified issues/concerns.

Additionally, building on past coordination and capacity-building activities, the current workshop could consider, inter alia, the following issues for recommendations:

  • Better define pilot projects to strengthen collaboration;
  • The creation of repository of solutions supporting development
  • Promote actions for the development of services supporting local and global needs
  • Propose means to increase the reach of capacity-building activities.



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