10 February 2010. Assessing the status of European-African cooperation in space applications and discussing further developments and initiatives were the main themes of a roundtable organised at ESPI.
Taking advantage of the session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS-STSC), this roundtable brought together representatives from Africa and Europe to publicly highlight benefits of ongoing cooperation and to look into perspectives for the future (programme download here). The panel speakers were: Adigun Ade Abiodun (Former Chairman UNCOPUOS, Founder of the African Space Foundation, Nigeria), Driss el Hadani (Director Royal Centre for Remote Sensing, Morocco), Peter Martinez (Division Head of Space Science and Technology, South African Astronomical Observatory), Jean-Francois Mayence (Belgian EU Council Presidency 2/2010) and Marie-Elisabeth de Vel (International Relations ESA). An introductory address was given by the Chairman of UNCOPUOS-STSC Ulrich Huth (download here).
The topics discussed ranged from national accomplishments of Africa, current regional cooperation and future plans for space activities and utilisation. From the European side the various existing programmes for cooperation with Africa were explained and jointly the participants appreciated the benefits derived from them and the achievements having been accomplished so far. The need arises to coordinate – and in a first approach – to map all these activities on bilateral regional and global level. Issues of further efforts should be the development of a comprehensive policy including all stakeholders, reflecting their respective needs with the identification of political counterparts for its joint implementation. Of major importance will be the sustainability of all initiatives and endeavours on all levels. As the Chairman of UNCOPUOS-STSC stated in his address, this roundtable and the ESPI-Eurisy project as a whole can well contribute to these efforts.
The roundtable was the first major event in the joint ESPI-Eurisy project on “Fostering a European-African Partnership in Satellite Applications for Sustainable Development in Africa” (the project is led on ESPI’s side by Resident Fellow Christina Giannopapa; for further information see the related webnews here). This project will run for two years and will prepare recommendations for decision-makers (in particular the Belgian EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2010) and provide a platform for users to best serve development needs in Africa. The roundtable was co-moderated by ESPI’s Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl and Eurisy’s President Colin Hicks. An audience of more than 50 guests mainly composed of delegates to UNCOPUOS-STSC from around the world participated in the event.
Roundtable from left: Colin Hicks (President Eurisy), Adigun Ade Abiodun
(Former Chairman UNCOPUOS, Founder of the African Space Foundation, Nigeria),
Driss el Hadani (Director Royal Centre for Remote Sensing, Morocco),
Peter Martinez (Division Head of Space Science and Technology, South African Astronomical Observatory), Jean-Francois Mayence (Belgian EU Council Presidency 2/2010),
Marie-Elisabeth de Vel (International Relations ESA) and Kai-Uwe Schrogl