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UAE Space Agency Signs Memorandum of Understanding with France’s CNES for Climate Change Observatory

Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES (left, foreground) and H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency (right, foreground), sign their latest Memorandum of Understanding in Dubai, witnessed by H.E. Edouard Philippe, Prime Minister of France (left, background) and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Photograph courtesy of the UAE Space Agency.

Further details have emerged about the content of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the UAE Space Agency and the French space agency, the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai, on 12 February, 2018.

The MoU was signed by H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and H.E. Edouard Philippe, Prime Minister of France.

The MoU provides the basis for collaboration and the exchange of information and expertise in the fields of space science, research, and technology, with the purpose of developing joint projects that help build Emirati human capacity in the space sciences and satellite technology sectors. The MoU also proposes the development of public awareness programmes to emphasise the importance of space exploration as well as the establishment of networks for the exchange of scientific data, especially as it relates to climate change.

The UAE Space Agency and CNES first signed a cooperative agreement in 2015 that committed both agencies to cooperate in the peaceful uses of outer space. A second agreement, signed in November 2017, commits both countries’ space programmes to establish a global climate observatory using advanced Earth observation techniques and space-based environmental monitoring. This third agreement provides further substance to the second one, committing both countries to support the global climate observatory using hyperspectral Earth observation satellites, as agreed at the One Planet Summit in Paris on 12 December, 2017. The latest agreement also commits both sides to devote more space resources to climate change missions.

“The UAE enjoys a strong relationship France in various fields, including education, business, and culture. We are looking forward to enhancing this relationship through this MoU with the French National Centre for Space Studies, which is in line with our strategic plans to expand cooperation with France in ways that benefit both our nations,” said H.E. Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the UAE Space Agency.

“The UAE Space Agency recognizes the importance of international collaboration in the fields of space science, technology, and exploration, as these fields are considered part of humankind’s common heritage. It is extremely important in our view for all leading entities in the field of space to work together towards the common goal of enhancing the welfare of humanity and to help inspire and train the next generation of space leaders,” Dr. Al Falasi added.

“The UAE Space Agency is keen on building on the success of other space programmes in its plans and strategies, which necessitates knowledge and experience transfer into the UAE. France’s space programme is considered one of the most prominent programmes worldwide, with a rich record of achievements since its establishment. This MoU will play an important role in developing capacities in both countries in the space sector, and within space exploration in particular,” said Dr. Al Ahbabi, the Director General of the UAE Space Agency.

“The UAE Space Agency is committed to enhancing spectrum monitoring and exploring its social and environmental applications. We are always open to international cooperation with global research centres and organisations, which support the UAE’s efforts to lead humanity’s space exploration efforts, particularly those related to climate studies, and spectrum monitoring,” Dr. Al Ahbabi added.

“This new agreement between CNES and UAESA reaffirms our two nations’ desire to move forward together in space. France is a key space player and the United Arab Emirates is among the new space powers now developing new programmes and missions. Today’s signature marks the start of this joint hyperspectral Earth-imaging mission. Our teams will be meeting in a month’s time in Toulouse to work on defining and planning the programme, and we will be conducting a first progress review at the start of May in Abu Dhabi during the Global Space Congress,” said Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES.

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