NAIROBI, FEBRUARY 13 – “Space is a global commons: the advancement of space technology benefits all member states at the UN”, Simonetta di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) said today at the African Chapter of the International Space Forum (ISF) in Nairobi, Kenya, an event co-organized by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Ministry of Defence of Kenya.
Di Pippo invited all participants to the upcoming UNISPACE+50 Global Space Summit in Vienna next June. The Nairobi meeting – the second at ministerial level after the 2016 edition in Trento (Italy) – has been focused on the African Continent: “Space Science and Academia for Sustainable Development in Africa”. At the end of the conference the delegates from 29 African countries and 14 National (not African) and International Space Agencies adopted a statement that summarized the main results of the discussions and provided recommendations to the African space community.
The importance of Space in facing Africa’s challenges were clear to all African countries: “Maritime security, accurate weather forecast, industrial fishing, emergency operations, environment management”, as Xavier Estico, Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles National Institute for Science, Technology & Innovation claimed. Global space knowledge can also “foster development in higher education and eliminating gender disparities”, added Jean-Yves Le Gall, IAF President, because “when you educate a woman, you educate a village”, as put by Raychelle Omamo, Ambassador of the Cabinet Secretary for Defence Kenya.
Space is also paramount “to maintain the national sovereignty and the territorial integrity in Africa”, said Daniel Antonio, High Commissioner of Mozambique in Kenya. But also “to win the fight against poverty”, as mentioned by Mahmoud Hussien Ahmed, Chairman of the Egyptian National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space.
In view of the UNISPACE+50 Global Space Summit in Vienna, Austria Val Munsami, IAF Vice-President for Developing Countries and Emerging Nations, stated that, in order for Africa to accomplish its global goals for sustainable development, “national space agencies must implement a common African space programme”.
Closing the day, Roberto Battiston, ASI President, praised the remarkable level of the discussions on how to improve the economic and social well-being of people and stressed the importance of involving more the academia as “their knowledge and expertise can help in finding improved solutions in Africa”. The Broglio Space Center (BSC – San Marco Project) in Malindi, where 50 years ago the first Italian satellite San Marco 2was launched by a Scout rocket, will play a pivotal role. The final statement of ISF expected that “the Broglio Space Center could collect the African needs and propose space application activities and training for the development of the African Capacity Building to achieve the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for sustainable development”.
Important contributions for the success of the event were provided by the Italian sponsors: Telespazio/Leonardo, Thales Alenia Space, Avio, Vitrociset, Sitael, Kaiser and OHB. (@OnuItalia)