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The growing role of space in a sustainable future

By H.E. Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi / Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency 25/09/2019

Sustainability has always been a fundamental motivation behind our mission to explore life and resources beyond our planet.

The consequences of the environmental challenges Earth is facing are becoming more severe as time goes by. The impact of climate change is already evident in the UAE, the region and in most countries worldwide. As such, contributing to a sustainable future is now more critical than ever both within our country and globally.

The space sector plays a vital role in providing global solutions for the environmental threats facing our planet. These threats include climate change, resource scarcity, desertification, rising sea levels, and an increased frequency and severity of national disasters.

We are already putting space technology to work for the benefit of humanity by forming partnerships to foster innovative technologies, launching satellites to monitor and measure the impact of climate change, and establishing research centres dedicated to advanced sciences.

Today, the accumulated knowledge of more than 50 years of observation provides us with a better understanding of Earth, with improved knowledge of its various components including its atmosphere, land, oceans and ice coverage.[1]

A study conducted by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) suggests that Earth observation data has a role to play in relation to most of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).[2] The United Nations announced 169 targets associated with these goals, 65 of which directly benefit from the use of Earth observation and navigation satellite systems.[3]

Space technologies can be utilised to pinpoint structures for urban planning purposes, apply global navigation satellite systems, Earth observation and satellite telecommunications, improve city services like the smart waste management systems, monitor air quality, manage disasters, monitor infrastructure, and help in search and rescue operations.


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