Held under the slogan ‘Space for Sustainability’, the Space Pavilion attracted wide local, regional, and international participation.
Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and Chairperson of UAE Space Agency, said: “Our participation reflects our commitment to promoting sustainability and combating climate change using advanced space technologies. Today, we witness how international cooperation and innovation in space can open new horizons for a sustainable future. This supports the UAE’s role as a pioneer in this vital sector.”
Al Amiri added: “We are proud of the UAE Space Agency’s achievements, and we look forward to creating more milestones that contribute to elevating the UAE’s position as a hub for innovation and progress in space and climate technology.”
His Excellency Salem Butti Al Qubaisi, Director-General of UAE Space Agency, said: “The Space Pavilion’s success at COP28 reflects our consistent efforts to lead space innovation and sustainability. The interactive participation of international space agencies, experts, and organisations enriched discussions and sessions during COP28. These sessions contribute to achieving sustainable development and creating a better future for our planet.”
Al Qubaisi added: “We are committed to enhancing the use of space technology in environmental research and developing innovative solutions to address global climate challenges.”
The UAE Space Agency signed a series of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with leading international space agencies. These MoUs underline the UAE’s commitment to boosting international cooperation in space to confront global environmental and climate challenges.
The first of these agreements was with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which aims to use remote sensing technologies and satellite data to monitor climate changes, in addition to building capabilities and enhancing cooperation in research and supporting innovation, especially in sustainable agriculture and rural development. The Agency also signed a MoU with the National Research and Innovation Agency of the Republic of Indonesia, to strengthen cooperation in civil space on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
Furthermore, the Agency signed an agreement with Milo Space Science Institute at Arizona State University, to expand cooperation in space exploration and support the workforce and startup companies in this field. Additionally, the UAE Space Agency signed a MoU with the Rwandan Space Agency to enhance bilateral cooperation in civil space activities. The agreement includes exchanging research, technology, and geospatial data, and launching projects for joint development in the space sector.
Panels, Sessions, and Presentations
The Space Pavilion hosted more than 60 panel discussions, sessions, and seminars with the participation of an elite group of speakers, specialists, space agencies, international organisations, and decision-makers. These sessions focused on the use of satellite data, space technology for sustainability, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and the latest sustainable technologies and initiatives in the space sector.
The sessions, seminars, and presentations touched on the role of Arab and international space agencies and organisations, ways to combat climate change, the importance and role of analysing space data, how to use this data in various fields and sectors, and exploring ways in which space can contribute to achieving a better future for the planet.
The discussions also addressed the opportunities and challenges related to influence from space on land and sea, modern uses of global monitoring, the importance of technology in enhancing global monitoring capabilities, mitigating the impact of climate weather, the importance of presenting a loss and damage atlas, financing space-climate initiatives, among other topics.
The Agency also supports environmental research and encourages investment in research and development, with a special focus on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in the space sector. It is also working on developing joint projects to improve the use of space applications in the public and private sectors to support the UAE’s vision as a hub for innovation in the field of climate technology.
Space Agencies Leaders’ Summit and Pledges
The UAE Space Agency organised the first of its kind ‘Space Agencies Leaders’ Summit’, with the participation of more than 20 space agencies. By bringing together key actors from global climate policy and space exploration sectors, the summit addressed climate programs and initiatives that will expedite the pathway to 1.5C.
The summit witnessed the participation of international senior officials and decision-makers, including: Senator Bill Nelson, Administrator of NASA, Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA, Dr. Sang-Ryool Lee, President of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), His Excellency Salem Butti Al Qubaisi, Director-General of UAE Space Agency, Dr. Mohammed Al Aseeri, CEO of the National Space Science Agency (NSSA) in Bahrain, and Josef Aschbacher, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Dr. Mohammed Al Tamimi, CEO of the Saudi Space Agency, along with many other space agencies and institutions.
The Space Agencies Leaders’ Summit ended with a Space Sector Pledge for Enhancing Space-Based Climate Initiatives to transform and accelerate climate action through financing climate programs and strengthening climate research to meet the commitments the world has made in the Paris Agreement in 2015. This created a collective commitment to support efforts to address climate change, enhance the exchange of scientific data and climate research, promote sustainable space activities, and finance space-climate programs.
Operational Phase for the Geo-Spatial Analytics Platform
In partnership with Bayanat, the UAE Space Agency announced the launch of the operational phase of the Space Data Center’s Geo-Spatial Analytics Platform, on the sidelines of its leadership in organising the Space Pavilion’s first participation at COP28. The platform includes three services: obtaining space images through international space agencies and a number of world-leading private companies, obtaining software and algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse satellite images, and a marketing platform for space services and applications. This partnership comes one year after the announcement of a strategic partnership between the UAE Space Agency and Bayanat at the Abu Dhabi Space Debate 2022.
Projects and Initiatives
The UAE Space Agency organised Hack4Climate: Space for Sustainability to highlight the importance of space data and space technology to combat the challenges of climate change and provide an opportunity for programmers, researchers, and entrepreneurs to contribute to promoting the principle of Space for Sustainability’.
Through cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and a number of leading companies in Earth observation and space data analysis, Hack4Climate successfully attracted more than 50 experts, programmers, and researchers, and witnessed exceptional effort and dedication from the participants over the course of 4 days. As a result, the participating teams reviewed 9 solutions on the final day of the hackathon to the challenges of monitoring and tracking water pollution as a result of oil spills, monitoring air quality by monitoring NO2, reducing loss and damage as a result of forest fires, monitoring flood conditions, providing guidance to rescue teams, and monitoring vegetation to combat climate change.
The Agency presented its main initiatives and projects to combat climate change, with a focus on developing strategic partnerships in this field and enhancing environmental efforts. As part of its efforts to highlight the importance of the space sector in addressing climate change, the UAE Space Agency highlighted the Space Data Center, the Geo-Spatial Analytics Platform, and the Space Analytics and Solutions (SAS) Program, which constitute innovative systems to meet global sustainability challenges and develop applications in the field of Earth observation and remote sensing. The UAE Space Agency also presented a loss and damage atlas in cooperation with Planet Labs.
The UAE Space Agency’s participation and organisation of the Space Pavilion at COP28 highlighted the UAE’s pioneering role in promoting sustainability using the latest space and AI technologies, by highlighting modern technological developments in this vital sector, especially in monitoring weather changes. The Agency aims to contribute to accelerating climate efforts in the UAE, in coordination with national and international stakeholders in the space sector, and to encourage innovation and the adoption of new technologies that focus on climate change.
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