UAE Space Agency hosts Space Agencies Leaders’ Summit at COP28

By bringing together key actors from global climate policy and space exploration sectors, the summit addressed climate programmes and initiatives that will expedite the pathway to 1.5C.
Photo credit: WAM

The UAE Space Agency spearheaded the inaugural Space Agencies Leaders’ Summit, an event featuring the participation of more than 20 international space agencies. This initiative aligns with the UAE Space Agency’s leadership role in orchestrating the first-ever Space Pavilion participation at COP28 and its commitment to facilitating advancements in the space sector, according to a report by WAM.

The summit, a novel endeavour in global collaboration, brought together influential figures from the realms of global climate policy and space exploration. The discussions centred on climate programmes and initiatives geared towards expediting progress on the path to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and Chairperson of UAE Space Agency, said: “The challenges of climate change require innovative and integrated solutions. Through international collaboration at the Space Agencies Leaders’ Summit, we aim to harness the power of space technology to benefit all humanity by enhancing transparency in adaptation and mitigation efforts. This contributes to building a climate-resilient world, including monitoring and responding quickly to rising sea levels, extreme weather events, greenhouse gas emissions, and other challenges on Earth. The summit reinforces the collective commitment to understanding the crucial role space can play in monitoring and preserving our climate for future generations, utilising data provided exclusively by satellite technology to assist communities in taking necessary actions to mitigate climate change on our planet.”

Al Amiri added: “This summit is a unique opportunity for us to work together as a united global community to protect the future of our planet for generations to come.”

Salem Butti Al Qubaisi, Director-General of UAE Space Agency, stated: “The Space Agencies Leaders’ Summit represents a milestone that underscores the vital role of the space sector in confronting climate challenges and finding innovative solutions to support sustainability. This summit is a platform for exchanging ideas and experiences, and a turning point in how we interact and respond to climate change.”

Al Qubaisi noted: “Today’s summit is a major step towards achieving more effective and advanced international cooperation in the use of space technology to protect our environment and secure a more sustainable future for the next generations.”

The summit witnessed the participation of international senior officials and decision-makers, including Senator Bill Nelson, Administrator of NASA, Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA, Dr Sang-Ryool Lee, President of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Salem Butti Al Qubaisi, Director-General of UAE Space Agency, Dr Mohammd Al Aseeri, CEO of the National Space Science Agency (NSSA) in Bahrain, and Josef Aschbacher, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Dr. Mohammad AlTamimi, CEO of Saudi Space Agency along with many other space agencies and institutions.

The summit delved into various topics, including enhancing data sharing between established and emerging space nations, allocating resources and funding towards climate research initiatives within the space sector, and minimising the environmental impact of space operations.

Key discussions included raising awareness about climate change, promoting entrepreneurship in the space sector, encouraging private sector investment in space-climate programs, and financing space-climate initiatives.

The event concluded with a Space Sector Pledge for Enhancing Space-Based Climate Initiatives, committing to transform and accelerate climate action through financing climate programs and reinforcing climate research in line with the commitments outlined in the Paris Agreement of 2015.

The UAE Space Agency, at the forefront of organising the Space Pavilion in COP28 under the theme ‘Space for Sustainability,’ will use this platform to showcase programmes, initiatives, and projects, announce the operational phase for the Space Data Centre, engage in high-level discussions on space and climate, and present the Loss and Damage Atlas.

The summit also focused on raising awareness about climate change and the role of space-based technologies in addressing it, technological solutions and promoting entrepreneurship in the space sector, encouraging private sector investment in space-climate programmes, financing space-climate programmes, and opportunities for funding and financing of space-climate initiatives.

The Space Agencies Leaders’ Summit ended with a Space Sector Pledge for Enhancing Space-Based Climate Initiatives to transform and accelerate climate action through financing climate programmes and strengthening climate research to meet the commitments the world has made in the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The UAE Space Agency is leading the first participation of the Space Pavilion in the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28), from 30 November to 12th December 2023, under the slogan ‘Space for Sustainability’.

The Space Pavilion will host a series of presentations and more than 60-panel sessions focusing on the use of satellite data, space technology for sustainability, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the latest sustainable technologies and initiatives in the space sector, financing space-climate initiatives, and discussing methane and Greenhouse gases.