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France And UAE Hold 11th Space Cooperation Strategic Dialogue In Paris

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.

The France-United Arab Emirates Strategic Dialogue convened for its 11th session in Paris on 16 April 2019.

On this occasion, the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) reviewed ongoing and future cooperation projects, noting the rapid development of bilateral space relations between the two nations and in particular their joint hyperspectral Earth-observation mission, actions to nurture space expertise in the UAE and the Space Climate Observatory (SCO).

The Strategic Dialogue provides for an annual high-level meeting to promote and advance cooperation between the two nations. A dedicated framework for France-UAE space cooperation was put in place two years ago with the creation of the Space sub-committee, co-chaired by CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and UAESA Director General Mohammed Al Ahbabi. At this 11th session, the two agency heads noted the progress made in defining the joint hyperspectral satellite project. They addressed the roles and responsibilities of CNES and UAESA in this environmental-monitoring programme, in particular with a view to extending services to the Pan-Arab region.

CNES assured UAESA of its continuing support for the development of Emirati expertise in satellite navigation. CNES’s President underlined the success of the training session on space technologies being provided by CNES in Al Ain from 15 to 18 April for young engineers and undergraduate students. He also pointed to the ongoing dry-immersion bedrest campaign underway in the UAE for the Emirati astronaut programme, supported by UAESA and the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and French expertise. The two agencies welcomed the prospects for closer cooperation between France and UAE in space training and education.

The Emirati authorities attach a great deal of importance to tackling climate change. In this respect, Jean-Yves Le Gall thanked Mohamed Al Ahbabi for the UAE’s high-level involvement in the SCO. They hailed the progress made in implementing this international initiative led by CNES and the forthcoming signature of its founding document.

After today’s meeting, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “This 11th session of the Strategic Dialogue between CNES and UAESA once again proved most constructive, marking a new milestone in space cooperation between our two nations. UAESA is a prime partner for CNES and a key new player in space to which we are contributing our expertise. Together, we shall be pursuing our bilateral projects to achieve future successes in the international space arena.”

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