31 August 2001


Frascati, Italy, 3-7 September 2001

Vienna, 31 August (UN Information Service) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs will be organizing, in cooperation with the European Space Agency, the UN Expert Meeting on the Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education: Status and Future Developments, and the 2nd Meeting of the Committee on Earth Observation’s ad hoc Working Group on Education and Training, from September 3 to 7, in Frascati, Italy. The Meeting will be hosted by ESA’s European Space Research Institute (ESRIN) in Frascati.

The UN GA, in its resolution 45/72 of 11 December 1990, endorsed the recommendation of the Working Group of the Whole of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, as approved by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), that: " … the United Nations should lead, with the active support of its specialized agencies and other international organizations, an international effort to establish regional centres for space science and technology education in existing national/regional educational institutions in the developing countries".

The UN GA, in its resolution 50/27 of 6 December 1995, also endorsed the recommendation of COPUOS that "these centres be established on the basis of affiliation to the United Nations as early as possible and that such affiliation would provide the centres with the necessary recognition and would strengthen the possibilities of attracting donors and of establishing academic relationships with national and international space-related institutions".

Such regional Centres have been established in India for Asia and the Pacific (http://www.cssteap.org), Morocco and Nigeria for Africa, Brazil and Mexico for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Jordan for Western Asia, under the auspices of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, implemented by the Office for Outer Space Affairs. The objective of these Centres is to enhance the capabilities of member States, on a regional and international level, in different areas of space science and technology that can advance their economic, scientific, and social development. Each of the Centres provides post graduate education, research and applications programmes with emphasis on remote sensing, satellite communications, satellite meteorology, and space science for university educators, as well as research and application scientists. All Centres are implementing the Education Curricula for nine-month post graduate courses that emanated from a UN Expert Meeting on the Development of Education Curricula, held at Granada, Spain, in 1995 (available at


Since 1995, these Education Curricula have been presented and discussed at regional and international educational meetings.

The Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), held in 1999 at the UN Office at Vienna, and the Vienna Declaration on Space and Human Development emphasized that collaboration should be established between the regional Centres and other national, regional, and international organizations to strengthen components of their education curricula (available at http://www.oosa.unvienna.org/).

In plenary sessions, the Meeting will review the status of the operation and establishment of the regional Centres with a view to enhancing cooperation among the Centres. Subsequently, the experts will break out into four working groups to focus on the following specific topics: A. Management issues of the Centres, B. Remote sensing and satellite meteorology, C. Satellite communications, and D. Space science, to achieve an update of the respective education curricula. The format of the Working Groups is based on real time discussion and debate, drawing on the participants’ knowledge and expertise, thereby taking into account results of the past nine-month post graduate courses.

The ad hoc Working Group on Education and Training of the Committee on Earth Observation (CEOS) and the Working Group on Education of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) have agreed to join efforts in the Meeting to provide the opportunity for participants in the Meeting to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of each other, particularly in the field of remote sensing.

Experts from the following countries were invited to contribute to the Meeting: Algeria, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States. Experts from COSPAR, ESA, EUMETSAT, FAO, and the UN will also participate at the Meeting.



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