aw_globe_200.gif 13 December 2007. The conference “Threats, Risks and Sustainability – Answers by Space” was held at ESPI in Vienna on 10 and 11 December. This conference was organised to shed new light on a number of threats to long-term sustainability in a multi-disciplinary approach and to demonstrate how space tools are crucial in addressing these issues.


Although living conditions have improved dramatically over the last century, the number and severity of identified natural as well as human-made threats to long-term sustainability on Earth has significantly increased. To ensure sustainability on Earth, different ways to prevent and mitigate the potential threats do exist. This two-day conference (programme download here) gathered experts from various disciplines and sectors in order to reflect on requirements for achieving sustainable development The discussion focused on the importance of space applications in the prevention, management and mitigation of the identified threats and risks, as well as on the role the space sector can play in providing sustainability on Earth. In this context, the conference also developed ideas addressed to national and European policy-makers.


 speakers and moderators at the ESPI Conference
“Threats, Risks and Sustainability – Answers by Space”

Sustainability was approached through identifying six distinct issue areas. In these six different areas, sector specialists in the fields of knowledge, mobility, security, resources, environment and energy were put in dialog with space experts to examine and illustrate in detail how space does contribute to sustainability on Earth and how this can be made even more efficiently utilized. The list of speakers comprised inter alia, Teresa Lago, member of the European Research Council, Gerard Brachet, Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and Jacques Blamont, member of the French Academy of Sciences. The sessions were moderated by Herbert Allgeier, former Director General of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (presently chairman of ESPI’s Advisory Council) and John Farrow from the International Space University. Presentations at the conference can be downloaded here.

The conference was organized by an ESPI team composed of Charlotte Mathieu with Agnieszka Lukaszczyk and Julie Abouyehia. The event was an element of ESPI’s strategy to link space to other policy areas and to provide policy makers with perspectives on using space for responding to problems of modern society, as ESPI’s Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl stated. The results of the conference will shortly be available in a concise flyer and the proceedings are planned to be published at SpringerWienNewYork in mid 2008.

photo credits: University of Oldenburg, ESPI 

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