Press Releases

    23 November 2007

    United Nations to Hold Workshop on Using Space Technologies for Sustainable Development in the Mountain Regions of Andean Countries

    VIENNA, 23 November (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), within the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, will hold a five-day workshop on using space technologies for sustainable development of mountainous regions in the Andean countries. The workshop, which will take place from 26 to 30 November 2007 in Mendoza, Argentina, is organized in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), the National Commission for Space Activities (CONAE)‎ of Argentina and the Government of Switzerland.

    The workshop will provide an overview on how to use space technologies, in particular remote sensing, for the benefit of mountainous regions in Andean countries and their sustainable development. Although remote sensing has considerable potential, it also faces some technological and natural constraints in mountainous areas that need to be considered in the planning of any capacity ‎building activities in these areas. The effective application of remote sensing for the development of mountainous areas also depends on proper needs assessment and transfer of knowledge on how to use space technologies, which are also among the priorities of this workshop.

    Mountains, that cover around one third of the earth surface and are inhabited by about one tenth of the world population, are also one of the most environmentally sensitive ecosystems, susceptible to natural disasters such as floods, avalanches, droughts and forest fires. In addition, the changing of climate reduces the stability of soil in these areas, increasing the probability of landslides that can be destructive to natural forest. As significant suppliers of vital resources, such as water and timber, they require special commitments for their protection and sustainable development. Availability of ‎reliable and up-to-date space-based information is often crucial to effectively use scarce resources in the mountainous areas. Remotely-sensed ‎data from satellites, that provide a view from space of a particular region on earth, are often used for monitoring different aspects of regional environment such as hydrology, geology, mineralogy as well as agricultural outputs. In the remote mountain areas of Andean countries, the use of space-based information, if applied properly, can contribute to sound environmental and economic policy planning and sustainable development.

    Approximately 70 participants from the following countries and organizations are expected to attend the workshop: Austria, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Nepal, Peru, Venezuela, European Space Agency (ESA), National Commission for Space Activities (CONAE)‎ of Argentina, International Centre for Integrated ‎Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Mountain Forum, UNESCO and UNOOSA.

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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 and technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at .

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    For information, please contact:

    Romana Kofler
    Associate Programme Officer
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4962