The UAE Space Agency has signed its first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the South Africa National Space Agency (SANSA) that outlines a framework for cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of UNISPACE +50, which takes place in Vienna June 18 – 21.
Representing the UAE Space Agency at the signing were H.E. Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, and H.E. Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency. Present from South Africa was Valanathan Munsami, Chief Executive Officer of SANSA.
Among the goals outlined in the MoU are the organisation and exchange of information, data, expertise, laws and regulations. The document also works to support human capital development plans, including exchange of engineers, experts and academics.
As part of the MoU, both parties will work together to identify projects of common interest that can be supported and developed in both countries. The UAE and South Africa will also hold joint conference and symposiums, promote educational activities in space science and technology, and enhance collaboration between their space sector and industry bodies.
Speaking about the partnership, H.E. Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi said: “This agreement is another affirmation of the UAE’s commitment to collaborating in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, as well as the advanced sciences and technologies related to these activities. Our international collaboration in this field has taken a number of difference forms, having established formal agreements with many space agencies and organizations. The principle that unites them is our commitment to developing joint goals around performing a leading role in shaping the future of the space sector.
“This Memorandum is part of our strategic framework for the United Arab Emirates and its space sector. It will support our scientific research capabilities and contribute to national capacity development programs by providing advanced skills across various disciplines and fields. The agreement we have signed here in Vienna allows for scientific exchanges and knowledge transfers on the part of South African experts in these key areas.”
H.E. Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi noted the importance of signing with SANSA due to its technologically advanced position within the global space sector. The UAE Space Agency Director General said: “This agreement reflects the UAE Space Agency’s commitment to partnering with agencies and organisations around the world, with a view to open exchanges in areas of mutual interest, which will support our collective capabilities.
“Our international Memorandums of Understanding focus on developing advanced skillsets and qualifying Emirati nationals to build a future generation of space pioneers and innovators. This is particularly important given the sector’s rapid growth in the size and scale of investments and projects, as well as the broad government support and interest from other sectors that we have seen over recent years.”
The UNISPACE +50 conference marks the 50th anniversary since the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and the UAE high-level delegation is being headed by H.E. Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi. The event gathers international space sector leaders, heads of organisations, experts and academia to discuss means of future cooperation and adopt resolutions that sets the framework for future years.