UN/Austria Symposium 2024
Climate action: transforming space-based technology projects
into sustainable services that support policy-making

17 and 18 July 2024
Graz, Austria & Online

Click here to register or submit abstract

Important dates

  • Deadline for submission of abstract: 7 April 2024
  • Deadline for registration to attend in person: 14 April 2024
  • Deadline for registration to attend online: 10 July 2024


Space applications and technologies have significant potential to contribute to mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. Every year there are demonstrations of new innovative technologies and launches of pilot projects that promise to address issues of forest fires, land degradation, floods, droughts, loss of biodiversity, agriculture, disaster management and more. Yet, many of these projects struggle to take off or fail to achieve long-term success. Beyond technical feasibility in the transition from a technical project to a sustainable service is a lack of understanding of how to make it happen.

Technical innovation without effective implementation does not lead to meaningful change. Taking the right steps to transform a technical project into a sustainable service with tangible measurable impact on people's lives is essential to ensure that those who need solutions are empowered and those who can help do so in a financially viable and responsible way. Successful cases integrate and manage social, financial, political and regulatory dynamics to accelerate the transformation.

The UN/Austria Symposium 2024 aims to bridge the gap between space applications and technologies providers, users and wider community. It aims to provide a diverse and inclusive multi-stakeholder platform to raise awareness of the challenges in transiting from a technical project into a sustainable service and facilitate knowledge exchange and sharing of lessons on how to successfully do so. The symposium in Graz will offer a possibility to share lessons learnt and success factors in transforming projects into sustainable services for climate action.

The presentations and discussions will address the role of governmental support, financing, capacity building, users empowerment, impact measurement metrics, amongst others. Successful case studies from various countries and organisations will also be discussed. The symposium aims to stimulate cross-fertilization of ideas and experience among policy makers, service providers, the private sector, academia and user communities and foster collaborations among different groups.


The symposium has the following objectives:

  • To demonstrate how initiatives based on space applications have been successfully developed and implemented in different countries.
  • To promote the exchange of best practices in transforming technical projects into sustainable services that have measurable impact and meet the demand and needs of developing countries in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
  • 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.
  • 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 the Space for Climate Observatory (SCO), 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 non-governmental organisations.
  • Create opportunities for cooperation and collaboration with funding organisations and international organisations.
  • To report to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space through the Scientific and Technical Sub-committee.


The programme includes:  

  • Keynote presentations: given by invited speakers.  
  • Panel discussions: roundtables during which speakers give a short presentation, followed by a moderated discussion among speakers and Q&A with the audience.  
  • Country case: a panel discussion focusing on a particular country.
  • Video pitches: short presentations introducing specific projects or initiatives in less than 3 minutes.    
  • Social events: evening receptions, as well as a guided tour of the city of Graz (TBC).
  • Networking opportunities.

A detailed programme will be released in June 2024.

The symposium will discuss the following sub-themes.

1. Funding and financing

Most technical projects depend directly or indirectly, in part or in full, on public funding, especially in their initial stage. How can long-term financing by achieved? How can public-private-partnership be successful? In the long run, the organisation running the project has to be financially viable to ensure its own long-term survival, which necessitates a sound business model. Different financing sources and options are available at different stages of the business cycle, hence the optimal type of financing may change as a project transitions into a service.

Speakers will share their experiences in transiting from a pilot project into a successful service. Financial experts will give us an overview of the different types of financing, and a more in-depth understanding of what model works best under what circumstances.

2. Users engagement and capacity building

Many innovations including space data are looking for a problem to solve. How do we engage users at the initial stage of development to ensure that the solution addresses their specific needs? Beyond simply supplying data, how do we ensure that end users are capable of reading, interpreting, and utilizing the information they need on the ground? Instead of being a one-off project, how do we ensure continued sustained support to the user communities to ensure that benefits are reaped in the long run?

Speakers will share their success in engaging users and capacity building approaches, common drivers of success, practical ways to identify, define and address local needs and advice for other practitioners.

3. Making success visible

Impacts of projects are often not measured, or not well measured, and typically not well-communicated to the public. How does a successfully implemented project look like? How can we measure short term and long term impact? What are effective ways to communicate success? How can successful scaling of a project expand the user base? How to expand and adopt an inclusive approach, in particular taking into account the voices of marginalized groups.

Speakers will explain success factors, share lessons learnt of impact-oriented approaches, and accompanying monitoring and evaluation methods.

4. Role of governments and intergovernmental agencies

Governments play a key role as users and enablers. From national climate policies, multi-year workplan, economic incentives and ecosystem, to education, skills building, and support to employment in climate-related fields, what are the different roles of national, regional and international collaborations in successful initiatives? How can intergovernmental organisations promote cooperation between technology providers and users, sharing knowledge and fostering best practices?

Speakers will share their approaches in supporting user uptake and integration of space solutions within different policy areas.

Dates and Venue

The symposium will be held from 17 to 18 July 2024 in Graz, Austria, as well as online via Webex. The venue is Graz University of Technology, Inffeldgasse 12, 8010 Graz, Austria.

Call for Abstracts

The UN/Austria Symposium invites you to submit abstracts for consideration. Please submit the abstract within the registration form before 7 April 2024. Late submissions will not be considered. 

This year the symposium will focus on how space-based technology projects progress into successful services. The abstract should be in line with the main theme of the symposium and linked to the symposium's sub-themes.

When submitting abstracts for this symposium, please note that:

  • Presentation of successful implementations and lessons learnt are strongly encouraged.
  • Abstracts reporting on activities that have already taken place and have concrete results will be given preference over those primarily focused on theories, concepts and plans for the future.
  • Abstracts covering topics/activities which have been presented at a prior UN/Austria Symposium must state this explicitly and detail both the additional information to be presented and the added value that this represents.


Click here to register.

Deadline for submission of abstract: 7 April 2024

Deadline for registration to attend in person: 14 April 2024

Deadline for registration to attend online: 10 July 2024

Those interested to participate in person will be selected up to the maximum capacity of the room, based on relevant professional and/or academic experience.

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, the private sector, 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.

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


Practical information for in-person attendance


The symposium will take place at Graz University of Technology, Institute of Communication Networks and Satellite Communications, in Lecture Hall I 2, on the ground floor. 

Graz University of Technology
Institute of Communication Networks and Satellite Communications
Lecture hall I 2 (access from Sandgasse 38)
Inffeldgasse 12
8010 Graz, Austria


Arrival by car
- From north or south: via A9 Phyrn-Autobahn until junction Graz-West, then A2 Südautobahn in direction Vienna, further see below
- From east or west: A2 Südautobahn to junction Graz-Ost, then feeder road to exit Graz-Liebenau, then right into Münzgrabenstraße, approximately 2km, then right into Sandgasse to parking lot Sandgasse 38
Arrival by plane
- Nearest airport: Graz-Thalerhof: the journey by cab takes about 30 min.
Arrival by train
- Nearest train station: Graz-Hauptbahnhof: take tram line 6 in the direction of St. Peter to the station Schulzentrum St. Peter. Then walk along Inffeldgasse (west) to the campus. The institute (Inffeldgasse 12) is located on the right, northern side behind the new study center.

Participants are encouraged to book their hotel room at Ibis Styles Graz Messe.


Lunches on day 1 and 2 of the symposium will be provided at the canteen in the Graz University of Technology. In the evening of 16 July, there will be a reception hosted by the Mayor of Graz at the City Hall. In the evening of 17 July, there will be a reception hosted by the Governor of Styria at the Orangerie at the Burggarten. Lunches and receptions are offered to all in-person participants free-of-charge.  


Graz is the capital city of the Austrian province of Styria and the second-largest city in Austria, after Vienna. As a university city more than 45.000 students are living in Graz. The old city of Graz and the castle Schloss Eggenberg are since 1999 and 2010 respectively UNESCO-world cultural heritage sights. Graz was designated the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2003, became a City of Culinary Delights in 2008, and is also recognized as a UNESCO City of Design within the Creative Cities Network. Please refer to the Graz Tourism for more information.


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 5,102 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. This year's symposium will be the 30  th edition of this long-standing series.

The symposia series has provided a forum for discussion between 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 and learning on the use of space tools and applications, with an interdisciplinary viewpoint, addressing technology development and policymaking.

Since 2020, the symposium engages in a series focusing on using space technologies, data and applications to address the unprecedented challenges posed by climate change, and in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action.

Working methods

Speakers at the symposium are requested to deliver an oral presentation or a demonstration of a tool in-person in Graz, Austria. Remote presentation will not be considered.

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.


The working language of the symposium is English.

Financial support

Within the limited financial resources available, the United Nations may provide funding for individuals selected as speaker and whose nationality is classified as a developing country. Speakers will be selected on a competitive basis, depending on their nationality and relevant professional or educational background. The UN will provide a round-trip air-ticket - most economic fare - between the airport of international departure in their home country and Graz and/or hotel room and board expenses for the duration of the symposium. For the list of developing countries, please refer to the annex of the "World Economic Situation and Prospects 2024" report, available at https://desapublications.un.org/publications/world-economic-situation-and-prospects-2024.

Successful applicants will be notified by May 2024.

Health insurance

Health insurance for each of the selected participants attending in person is necessary and is the responsibility of the participant or his/her institution or government. UNOOSA will not assume any responsibility for life and health insurance, nor for expenses related to medical treatment or accidents.


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.


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

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