BDLI - 15th NSBreakfast

Day 2 of the UAE Space Agency-UNOOSA High Level Forum: Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development

The second day of the United Nations/United Arab Emirates High Level Forum: “Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development,” in Dubai, which is hosted by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and jointly organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) was the most content intense day. 46 presentations were conducted in 6 sessions.

Khaled Al Hashemi, Head of Space Missions at UAE Space Agency; Credits: SpaceWatch Middle East

The first session on Space Accessibility showed the various factors of access to space, space technologiy data, and facilities, and the importance of joining a global effort in the development of the entire space arena for the benefit of humanity.  This session was moderated by Dr. Michael Simpson of the Secure World Foundation. Presentations were made by the Sierra Nevada Corporation, DigitalGlobe, The European Commission, Secure World Foundation, and others. Initiatives like the Moon Village Association, presented by Angeliki Kapoglou, showed the need for international and cross-sector collaboration for a sustainable and permanemt return to the lunar surface in the coming years. Pete Worden of the Breakthrough Initiative excited the audience by showing some examples of their new science and research efforts, like the smallest spacecraft that is the size of a penny coin. The final presentation was given by Khaled Al Hashemi of the UAE Space Agency on UAE achievments of overcoming the challenges and barriers of space access.

Capacity-Building and information Dissemination was the next session of the day in two parallel sessions. One presentation to mention was about the work of the Space Generation Advisory Council and their work in the Asia-Pacific for capacity building and youth engagement in the space sector.

Naser Al Rashedi, Head of Space Policy at UAE Space Agency; Credits: SpaceWatch Middle East

Space diplomacy followed as the next session. The topic of this session was the attention of governments to the need for regulatory frameworks and mechanisms at national, regional, and global levels, as well as the role of international mechanisms for cooperation in the peaceful exploration and uses of outer space. Presentations from various countries such as Brazil, Italy, Japan, UK, and South Africa provided overviews about the different actions in the field of space diplomacy in these countries. The session ended with two contributions from MBRSC’s Omran Sharaf, Project Manager of the Emirates Mars Mission, and from Naser Al Rashedi, Director of Space Policy at the UAE Space Agency, about the long term sustainability of the space activities of the UAE.

SpaceWatch Middle East COO Torsten Kriening in front of the “For all Moonkind” banner; Credits: SpaceWatch Middle East

The final session of the day explored international initiatives and case studies. Apart from a cyber security law presentation, one is worth highlighting here. Co-founder of the “For all Moonkind” initiative, Michelle Hanlon, spoke about why preserving human history in space is so important and is a path to sustainable development and peace. The For all Moonkind initiative is supported by SpaceWatch Middle East, and is a cause we encourage others to look into. The idea is to get the human heritage in space, such as the Moon landing sites and astronaut footsteps, protected as they would be on planet Earth by UNESCO.

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