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UK and UN join forces to use space technology to fight climate change


The government’s national space strategy, which was unveiled in September, set out an ambition for the UK to be a leader in using space for climate action. Now, the UK Space Agency will work with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) on a further review of existing activities on climate action through the use of space technology.

The aim is to develop a strategic vision of climate activities in space on a scale that has never been achieved before and, through this, to increase policy coherence across the multilateral system and international organizations. relevant.

The review, which is due to begin in December, aims to provide a detailed overview of space climate activities undertaken by UN and non-UN entities and to raise awareness of these opportunities at hand to support actions while fostering collaboration.

Dr Paul Bate, Managing Director of the UK Space Agency, said:

The UK is leading the way in using satellites to monitor and tackle climate change and we are building relationships of trust between the UK space industry and international partners.

We saw throughout COP26 how satellites are being used to measure carbon emissions, monitor deforestation and improve climate models that inform international action. This new project with UNOOSA will map this existing work and explore what more can be done to strengthen the space sector’s contribution to solving our planet’s greatest global challenge.

Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, said:

Space activities have transformed the way humanity views and understands planet Earth, making them vital to climate science and action. We must maximize the ambition to use the benefits of space for a better future.

At UNOOSA, we are fully committed to strengthening the direct and indirect contributions of the space sector to a net zero future. With this initiative proposed by the British Space Agency, we are taking our shared commitment to another level. By consolidating and mapping existing climate activities, we will be much better equipped to move forward in coordinating international efforts and stimulating climate action.

The announcement was made during the “In Space We Trust” event at COP26 (Wednesday 10 November) which explored how space data and technology are driving climate action.

Organized by Space4Climate in partnership with the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Program and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, the event, the Virtual Space and Geospatial Pavilion of the Knowledge Transfer Network for COP26, provided a platform for stakeholders from indigenous groups and countries. as widespread as Vietnam to Colombia to Cabo Verde. He presented existing partnerships using space for climate action and capacity building in climate data, in collaboration with developing economies.

Davis Adeno, director of programs for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, who hosted the event, said:

Without a doubt, the world is at a crossroads. The devastating impacts of climate change have been laid bare so we can all see them wherever we are. But as we strive for change, we must recognize that the steep road to change is not easy, but it is evolutionary. We have a great opportunity to act now and to act on an unprecedented scale through international collaboration to accelerate progress in realizing the ambitions of the World Climate Summit.

The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Program (IPP) is a £ 150million sustainable development initiative that uses the capabilities of the UK space sector in satellite technology and data services to deliver economic benefits , societal or environmental, measurable and sustainable in partnership with developing countries.

Since 2016, IPP has funded 43 projects in 47 countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean to develop space solutions that tackle global development challenges such as climate resilience and disasters, food security, maritime issues, disease forecasting. , and improving access to financial services. The majority of IPP projects support climate action.

Organizations represented at the online event in the Virtual Space and Geospatial Pavilion included the United Nations, Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Center, Mercy Corps (Kyrgyzstan), Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, Columbia University, National Forestry Commission (Ghana), NGO Community Outreach and Development Services NGO, Royal Meteorological Society, Association of Banana Growers of Magdalena and La Guajira (Colombia), Center for Nomadic Pastoralism Studies (Mongolia), UNELCO ENGIE (Vanuatu), JBA Consulting, Community Research and Development Services Limited, and the University of Leeds.


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