Press Releases

    12 July 2002

    IN LUSAKA, ZAMBIA, 15-19 JULY 2002

    VIENNA, 12 July (UN Information Service) -- Improving applications of GNSS will be the key topic of a five-day United Nations/United States of America Workshop in Lusaka. Representatives of various governmental institutions and private industry from developed and developing countries from the Africa and the Western Asia region are to be briefed on both practical and cost-effective space-based solutions, which are currently available for different sectors of economy.

    The workshop will focus on specific applications of the use of existing and near-term GNSS and their augmentations to further global environment objectives, sustainable development programmes and deepen the understanding of these applications in developing countries. Such global systems include the Global Positioning System (GPS) of the United States of America, Glonass of the Russian Federation and the planned Galileo project of the European Community countries. Applications will include monitoring of the environment, disaster management, precision agriculture, surveying, mapping and Earth sciences, resource conservation, transportation and telecommunications, education and training.

    The Workshop will review applications of the GNSS with special emphasis on (i) current status and briefing on the modernization policy of GPS; current status and future developments of Glonass (Russian Federation) and developments in the European Galileo programme; (ii) existing and future potential applications of these systems for sustainable development and protection of the environment of interest for countries in the Africa and the Western Asia region; (iii) promotion of regional and international cooperation.

    The Workshop will aim at: (i) bringing the benefits of the availability and use of GNSS signals to the awareness of decision-makers and technical personnel from potential user institutions as well as to service providers in the private sector, particularly in developing countries; (ii) identifying actions that could be taken and partnerships to the established by potential users. The Workshop will try to increase the awareness of participants of the intrinsic value of the GNSS signals in a sustainable development context and motivate their imagination to make use of them in their own programmes and projects. A direct result would be an expanded user base, which is likely to include a network of experienced and beginner users from governmental and academic institutions as well as from the private sector.

    The Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) identified the need to determine precise locations on the ground for use with Earth observation images and ancillary information in geographical information systems. This location information is needed for a large number of remote sensing applications, some of which support such strategic areas for development as disaster management, monitoring and protecting the environment, management of natural resources and food production. With the availability of high-resolution images, some applications will require a location precision of the order of one meter. The GNSS, which include the GPS of the United States of America, provide a signal that can serve this purpose and in addition could be used for a large range of other applications with economic benefits for the user.

    United Nations-sponsored space-technology related workshops and training courses are intended to help countries develop indigenous capacity to enable them to benefit fully from the growing world-wide body of know-how derived from space research and developments.

    This regional Workshop, which is the fourth in the series being co-sponsored by the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, the Government of the United States of America and the European Space Agency, is being organized in cooperation with the Government of Zambia, for the benefit of developing countries in the Africa and the Western Asia region. The Workshop will be hosted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training.

    Around 100 participants are expected to attend the Workshop, from the following countries and international organizations: Algeria, Austria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cape Verde, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, United States of America, Zambia, EIS-Africa, European Commission, European Space Agency, International Civil Aviation Organisation, Peace Parks Foundation, Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

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