5 September 2003

Graz Hosts Symposium on Space Applications for Sustainable Development

VIENNA, 5 September (UN Information Service) -- A four-day Symposium on "Space Applications for Sustainable Development: Supporting the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development" will be held at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Graz, Austria, from 8 to 11 September. The Symposium is jointly organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), the Government of Austria and the European Space Agency (ESA). It is the first in a series of three consecutive Symposia, to be held between 2003 and 2005, with the aim of promoting activities to carry out the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The Symposium will be hosted and co-sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, the Province of Styria, the City of Graz and ESA.

The Symposium will address the possible contribution of space applications in the following areas: (a) providing basic health services for all and reducing environmental health threats; (b) supporting integrated management and sustainable development of water resources; (c) supporting an integrated, multi-hazard, inclusive approach to address vulnerability, risk assessment and disaster management; (d) supporting sustainable agriculture to increase food production and enhance food security in an environmentally sustainable way; and (e) supporting sustainable development for Africa.

The goal of the series of three Symposia is to promote the use of the demonstrated capabilities of space technology to support some of the actions called for in the Plan of Implementation of WSSD. The specific objectives of the Symposium for 2003 are: (i) to review the needs associated with the themes to be addressed at the Symposium and to identify the support that could be provided by space technology; (ii) to identify a functional partnership that could be established; and (iii) to make recommendations on how such a partnership can be established through voluntary actions that could include Governments, international organizations and other relevant stakeholders.

Decision-makers and programme managers from governmental institutions and the private industry from the following countries and organizations are expected to attend the Symposium: Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bhutan, Cameroon, Canada, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Montserrat, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Romania, Senegal, South Africa, Syria, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United States, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, World Health Organization, European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, European Space Agency, International Space University and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

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The United Nations Programme on Space Applications is implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and works to improve the use of space science and technology for the economic and social development of all nations, in particular developing countries. Under the Programme, the Office conducts training courses, workshops, seminars and other activities on applications and capacity building in subjects such as remote sensing, communications, satellite meteorology, search and rescue, basic space science, satellite navigation and space law.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, and assisting developing countries in using space science technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at http://www.oosa.unvienna.org.

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