UN/Austria Symposium 2022: Space for climate action - experiences and best practices in mitigating and adapting to climate change and supporting sustainability on Earth
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Austria are responsible for organising the Symposium.
It is supported by
- the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
- the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
- the European Space Agency
- the City of Graz
- the Province of Styria
- Joanneum Research
- Graz University of Technology
For almost thirty years, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology together with the UN Space Office and Austrian partners, has been organising a symposium in Graz at the beginning of September on topics related to the application of space technologies for various policy areas.
This year, the UN/Austria Symposium with 817 registered people from 104 different countries was held online and under the motto "Space4ClimateAction". An average of 125 participants simultaneously followed exciting presentations and discussions on how space solutions can support policy development in the fight against climate change.
Why Space4Climate Action?
The climate crisis requires a green transformation of economy and society. No person and no country on this planet should be left behind. This is why cooperation and coordination between different actors and between different policy sectors is so important.
Space solutions are still underused and access to space technologies remains unequal. There is a lack of skills and capacities to use space data.
Therefore, the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, also responsible for space affairs, supports the global networking of the different disciplines and communities - space and climate - to support the development of innovative solutions and tools for Space4Climate Action.
The UN/Austria Symposium 2022
The UN/Austria Symposium provided the opportunity to do so:
- Two sessions presented the current status and innovative initiatives that use space solutions to address climate change.
- Three countries (Nigeria, India and Austria) reported on their approaches and experiences in using space solutions for their specific regional and national climate change mitigation needs.
- A panel discussed "Greening space systems engineering" for the first time at UN level.
- A final panel discussed recommendations for future activities.
After the symposium the European Space Agency - ESA Clean Space, the Indian Space Research Organisation - ISRO, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts - ECMWF, the Earth Observation Data Centre - EODC and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration - NASA offered free online trainings on the following topics:
- Life Cycle Assessment and Eco-Design for Space,
- Sustainable Space-Based Data for Climate Monitoring,
- Copernicus Services for Climate Change and Atmospheric Monitoring,
- Analysis of EO Data using the Open EO Platform.
Like the symposium, these trainings attracted great interest.
A report on the symposium and recommendations for next steps to support the Sustainability Goal 13 - Climate Action - will be sent to the UN Committee for the Peacful Uses of Outer Space for information.
The symposium will address:
- How space data, in particular from remote sensing and meteorology, are used for adaptation to the climate crisis in countries of various regions of the world, with a focus on recent innovations since 2020.
- How to use space applications, such as Earth Observation, satellite telecommunications and satellite navigation, to mitigate the impact of contributors to the climate crisis, especially in the areas of transport, energy production, or food production, with a focus on recent innovations since 2020.
- Changes in space engineering practices to reduce the contribution of space activities to the climate crisis, with innovation practices such as lifecycle assessment, design of spacecraft for demise, or greener technologies in space engineering, as well as regulatory incentives for their adoption.
Before or after the symposium a series of trainings is being planned for participants to get acquainted with different data sources.
There will also be networking opportunities for participants of the symposium.
- Research and development institutions
- policy and decision-makers
- senior experts
- engineers and university educators especially from developing countries
- representatives from the space applications industry and diplomatic community
- intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations
We are committed to supporting gender mainstreaming and advocate for a balanced representation from different perspectives.
UN Office for Outer Space Affairs