21 November 2001


Vienna, Austria, 26-30 November 2001

VIENNA, 21 November (UN Information Service) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) is organising a regional workshop on the use and applications of global navigation satellite systems for the benefit of countries in Central and Eastern Europe, from 26 to 30 November 2001 at the Austria Centre Vienna. This is the second of a series of four regional workshops and an international meeting that are being co-sponsored by the Government of the United States of America. The European Commission is also co-sponsoring this workshop in Vienna, which will be hosted by the Government of Austria and the Austrian Space Agency.

Through active involvement of all participants, the workshop aims to: (i) increase awareness of the benefits of the availability and use of GNSS signals in the region of Central and Eastern Europe; (ii) provide opportunities for GNSS experts to establish partnership with potential users of GNSS technologies in the region; and (iii) identify actions to be taken in the region through international co-operation to integrate the use of GNSS signals in practical applications to protect the environment and to promote sustainable development.

Among other topics, participants of the workshops will discuss the following:

  • Overview of Global Positioning System (GPS), Glonass, Galileo and other systems (history and evolution of GNSS technology; status and expected developments of these systems; augmentation systems);
  • Applications in environmental monitoring, disaster management, management of natural resources, precision agriculture; surveying and mapping; Earth sciences, air, maritime and land transportation; and precision timing;
  • GNSS industry: market and opportunities;
  • How to introduce, apply and manage GNSS technologies: development of plans and policies; and implementation issues and challenges;

What is GNSS

With extremely high accuracy, global coverage, all-weather operation and usefulness at high velocities, GNSS bring increasing benefits to people’s daily lives. Benefits of GNSS applications are growing in areas such as aviation, maritime and land transportation, mapping and surveying, agriculture, power and telecommunications networks, and disaster warning and emergency response. For developing countries in particular, GNSS applications offer a cost-effective way to pursue economic growth without compromising the need to preserve the environment, thus promoting sustainable development.

Objectives and Expected Results

The short- to mid-term results of the Workshop will be the launch of pilot and demonstration projects by governments, research institutions and the industry that would benefit from the introduction of the technology. In the long-term it will lead to greater use of GNSS technologies.

The new U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA and to the Vienna Office of the United Nations Kenneth C. Brill believes that the use of GNSS, such as the U.S.'s Global Positioning System (GPS), can play a key role in the important effort of protecting the environment and pursuing sustainable development. He strongly supports the workshop because it will highlight the opportunities provided by GPS to develop solutions to common challenges in fields such as telecommunication, environmental protection, agriculture and forestry, meteorology, disease control, and emergency services.


The participating States stressed the social and economic benefits of GNSS at the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, known as UNISPACE III. In order to help developing countries benefit from GNSS applications, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, within the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, proposed to organize a series of workshops and seminars focusing on capacity-building in the use of GNSS in various areas of applications. The proposal by the Office was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2000.

The first of the series of the regional workshops was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August 2001 for the benefit of countries in Asia and the Pacific. In 2002, the third regional workshop will be held in Santiago, Chile, from 1 to 5 April, to be followed by the fourth workshop in Lusaka, Zambia in July. The conclusions and recommendations of these regional workshops will be reviewed at the international meeting of experts scheduled toward the end of 2002 to be held in Vienna, Austria. This international meeting will aim to identify possible action to be taken by the international community to facilitate the use of GNSS particularly in developing countries.

The Workshop in Vienna from 26-30 November brings together decision-makers, programme managers in government agencies, research institutes and the private sector that carry out activities and projects to promote sustainable development in Central and Eastern European countries. They come from the following countries: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech republic, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Tajikistan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The invited speakers include policy makers, programme managers, renowned experts in the field of GNSS technologies and applications from the United States, European countries, the Russian Federation, Japan and Brazil, as well as from the European Commission, European Space Agency, International Hydrographic Organisation and Civil GPS Service Interface Committee. In addition to more than 40 presentations, the programme will feature interactive sessions with audience and panel discussions.

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