Dubai to host preliminary forums for UNISPACE+50 conference
The UAE Space Agency will host two high level preliminary forums for the UNISPACE conference in Dubai throughout 2016 and 2017, in collaboration with the Mohamed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
The forums are to be led by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in preparation for the UNISPACE+50 conference in 2018.
The first forum, titled “Space as a driver for sustainable economic and social development,” is being organised by UNOOSA and will be held between the 20th and 24th of November, 2016. The event will gather more than 120 high-level actors from national and regional bodies, international public and private sector organizations, and policy-makers from government agencies. It will also feature experts from UN agencies, the business community and academic institutions, as well as individuals from global centers of excellence, researchers in outer space fields and civil society leaders. Participants will discuss the role of space science and technology in cultivating global growth.
The date of the second forum is yet to be announced, but is expected to be revealed at the ‘Dubai Declaration’. This latter forum will outline recommendations for strengthening the role of space activities in their function as a driver for innovative and sustainable social and economic development.
The forums will focus on four main areas: the economics of space, the space community, access to space and space diplomacy. The events seek to provide a platform for exchanging expertise and expanding knowledge of current space-related activities and technological applications, in addition to discussing space sector contributions to economic, social and diplomatic spheres.
The forums also aim to produce recommendations surrounding innovative uses of space activities. They will also highlight possibilities for governments, international organisations, research and development institutions and other stakeholders to further utilize the space sector as a driver for economic and social development.
Dr Khalifa Al Romaithi, chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The organization of these high-level forums falls within the strategic vision and mission of the United Arab Emirates to establish significant international cooperation and knowledge exchange with the rest of the world, including the most important elements of the space sector. Our approach recognises the importance of international cooperation in the peaceful exploration of outer space for the benefit of humankind.”
He added: “The forums will shed light on the UAE’s contributions to the global space sector and strengthen its international standing in the field, having entered the race to explore outer space two years ago, when the UAE Space Agency was founded. In a timely manner, the forums will attract global attention to the ambitious national space programs, including the exploration Mars.”
Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director general of the UAE Space Agency, said: “There is a global boom in a variety of space activities that reap huge benefits for local, regional and international economies. The forums highlight the roles of such activities with regards to both social development and international cooperation.”
Al Ahbabi added: “By hosting these forums, the UAE is adding to its attractive positioning for key stakeholders in the global space industry and its capacity to organise the world’s foremost satellite events. This is thanks to the UAE’s solid foundations concerning the growth and development of its space sector, which will lead to a prominent international role in the field.”
Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, said: “It is a great source of pride for Dubai to host such distinguished global forums. Taking place every fifteen years, they provide a unique opportunity to gather senior space sector leaders and policy makers from all over the world.”
Al Shaibani added: “The UNISPACE conference highlights the global efforts to raise awareness about the importance of cooperation in space sector development and making enhancing its sustainability in order to serve humanity as a whole. The pivotal role played by the sector in economic development and effective contribution to global economic activity is particularly noteworthy.”
He continued: “We have a great respect for the United Arab Emirate’s world-class infrastructure and excellent human resources, in addition to the state’s various space contributions. Among other efforts, we place a particular importance on the Emirates Mars mission and the KhalifaSat, Dubai-1 and Dubai-2 projects.”
Al Shaibani added: “The centre is fully committed to the development of a national space sector that is characterised by high standards, in order for the UAE to achieve advanced and competitive rankings in the world in the field of industry, technology and space research”