8 June 2009. For the first time in more than a decade, representatives from Latin America and Europe were brought together to discuss the status and future prospects of cooperation between the two regions. ESPI acted as the platform for this event, which demonstrated the potential and interest in inter-regional cooperation.
Since the Euro-Latin American Space Days of 1997, the dialogue between the two continents has primarily been conducted on bilateral governmental or inter-agency level. While joint activities and projects became more and more numerous, a broader review of the overall status or cooperation and the perspectives for new avenues has not been scheduled. Taking advantage of the current session of the United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) here in Vienna, ESPI invited representatives from Latin American space institutions (Amb. Raimundo Gonzales, Executive Secretary, Chilean Space Agency; Sergio Camacho Lara, Director, Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, CRETELAC, Mexico; Rozane Fonseca e Silva, International Affairs Office, Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, INPE) as well as representatives from Europe (Petr Havlík, Head of the Czech EU Council Presidency Team UN/UNODC/UNIDO; Alider Cragnolini, Head for Multilateral Cooperation, INTA Spain, Presidency of the EU Council 1st half 2010; David Esterhazy, representing Eurospace, Head of Business Development ThalesAlenia Space) to provide the so far missing inter-regional assessment.
The composition of the roundtable (programme here) stressed on the European side the role of the EU Council Presidencies, but also took particular account of the activities of ESA, which was involved in the preparation of this event. The roundtable was opened with a keynote speech by the Colombian Chairman of UNCOPUOS, Amb. Ciro Arévalo Yepes and was co-moderated by ESPI’s Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl and Amb. Raimundo Gonzales Aninat, who also had initiated the event from the Latin American side. It was organised by ESPI’s Project Manager Matxalen Sánchez Aranzamendi.
Roundtable (from left): Amb. Raimundo Gonzales (Executive Secretary, Chilean Space Agency), Rozane Fonseca e Silva (International Affairs Office, Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, INPE), Sergio Camacho Lara ( Director, Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, CRETELAC, Mexico), Petr Havlík (Head of the Czech EU Council Presidency Team UN/UNODC/UNIDO), Alider Cragnolini (Head for Multilateral Cooperation, INTA Spain, Presidency of the EU Council 1st half 2010), David Esterhazy (Eurospace, Head of Business Development ThalesAlenia Space), Kai-Uwe Schrogl (ESPI, Director)
Although the roundtable was not intended to reach formal conclusions, it became clear that the two regions are highly interested in further strengthening cooperation. As a concrete action, the organisation of a larger joint coordination meeting, possibly in conjunction with the EU Council Presidency of Spain in the first half of 2010 and with a perspective of linkage with the planned 6th Space Conference of the Americas (the most recent conference in this series took place in 2006 in Quito) and the next Latin America and Carribean – EU Summit (the most recent summit took place in 2008 in Lima) was identified. The roundtable showed the wealth of existing and prospective cooperation topics with a strong focus on applications in all areas and also a good potential for commercial cooperation.