Officials, Scientists and Experts Explore Future of Space Science at ICESCO Global Forum
2 November 2021
The first edition of the (GSSF)
The first day of the joint ICESCO-Space Foundation Global Space Science Forum under the theme: “Exploring the Space Science Future – Together,” featured scientific tours aiming to explore the promising future of space science and applications, and saw the participation of officials, experts, and policymakers who brought new perspectives into the dialogue on space science, emphasizing that it is the science of the future in which humanity must invest to meet current and future challenges.
The Forum kicked off on Monday, November 1, 2021, face-to-face at ICESCO headquarters, in Rabat, and via videoconference, with a speech by Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG), in which he highlighted the need for the enhancement of investment in space science and technology and stressed the importance of raising collective awareness and building the capacity of young people, women, and girls to stimulate their participation in the growing space science activities to support the world’s efforts to achieve shared sustainable development goals.
The DG explained that the technological progress achieved in the past decades, which led to a surge in the global economy, requires meeting social and economic challenges, noting the pivotal role that space science and technology play in this field.
Dr. AlMalik reiterated the Organization’s unwavering commitment to supporting scientific, educational, and cultural activities in its Member States through the adoption of new technologies, capacity building, support of the technology-driven economy, awareness-raising, modern knowledge dissemination. The policy recommendations emanating from the ICESCO Global Space Science Forum can help achieve all these objectives as they serve as a foundation for national policies that promote the Islamic world’s use of space science technology.
In his address, Dr. Abdellatif Miraoui, Moroccan Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, commended ICESCO’s programs and activities aimed at developing scientific research and innovation in the Islamic world, highlighting the special attention accorded by His Majesty King Mohammed VI – may God assist him – to the field of space science, and the Moroccan Kingdom’s initiatives in this field, namely the hosting of the African Regional Center for Space Science and Technology and the establishment of the Royal Centre for Remote Sensing.
Mr. Thomas Zelibor, Space Foundation CEO, explained that space science is critical to understanding climate change and natural hazards and their impacts, stressing that the initiatives of all actors, partners and institutions are key to advancing innovation and technology. Dr. Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, emphasized the importance of investing in space science to overcome challenges and improve the quality of life on earth, commending the initiatives of the international community in this field and underlining the necessity to support efforts to leverage space technology for human growth and prosperity.
For her part, Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund, President of the International Astronautical Federation, stressed the need to benefit from space science in a world that is witnessing constant changes and transformations, noting the importance of cooperation in this endeavour through the promotion of innovation and student exchange between universities around the world to combat poverty and achieve development.
At the outset of the opening session, the first session of the Forum began with a speech by Mr. Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director-General of UAE Space Agency, in which he pointed out that space science is a wide and ever-developing field that requires cooperation, that is why international strategic partnerships have become common practice for the UAE Space Agency.
Mr. Samaddin Asadov, Chairman of the Board of Azerbaijan Space Agency “Azercosmos,” provided an overview of the agency’s mission and scope of activities, noting that the Azerbaijanian space agency has been witnessing developments in space science and industry for 50 years.
In his address, Mr. Majed Alonazi, Chief Operating Officer at the Saudi Space Commission, stressed that the ICESCO Global Forum would pave the way for cooperation between the Islamic world countries in the field of space science, noting that Saudi Arabia seeks to raise awareness of space science, invest in related industries, and develop applications that contribute to achieving sustainable development.
The second session of the first day of the Forum touched upon the role of space agencies in building knowledge based on space applications and featured a roundtable on the importance of space science in reducing disaster risks, facing humanitarian crises, and eradicating poverty. The thought-provoking discussions encouraged participants to reflect upon ways to overcome the current challenges and build a better future for humanity through genuine cooperation in the field of space applications and related industries.
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