ABU DHABI, 9th June, 2023 (WAM) – On the sidelines of the UAE Space Agency’s participation in the 66th session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in Vienna, Austria, the agency organised a gala dinner sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Space Debate.
The event, which was attended by senior officials and decision-makers from countries participating in COPUOS, took place during the UAE’s active participation in the committee’s 66th session.
The occasion highlights the UAE’s commitment as it prepares to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in November and December 2023 at Dubai Expo City.
The gala dinner served as a platform to emphasise the significance of supporting global sustainability endeavours, particularly the role of the space sector in addressing climate change and its relevance to COP28.
Decision-makers were encouraged to engage in discussions regarding the challenges they face within the industry during COP28. Moreover, the event underscored the importance of enhancing international cooperation through the Abu Dhabi Space Debate platform and emphasised the need for developing competencies and scientific research within this critical sector.
The event was attended by Omran Sharaf, Assistant Foreign Minister for Advanced Sciences and Technology, and Chair of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE Ambassador to Austria, alongside other senior officials and staff from the UAE Space Agency.
During his speech, Omran Sharaf said: “The Abu Dhabi Space Debate is a shared global platform to complement and accelerate space discussions. The purpose is to bring subject-matter experts, senior decision-makers within the space community in countries around the world, senior decision-makers in foreign policy, the defense industry along with the commercial space sector, to mitigate and align on current challenges in the space sector.”
In his speech, Hamad Al Kaabi said: “Our space programme is based on science and research. Hence, we are committed to focusing on joint research. Organisational development, and youth investment especially in science and engineering, are some of the key topics that we focus on.”
Salem Al Qubaisi said: “In an increasingly divided world, bridging perspectives is what connects humanity. As we navigate the challenges of our time, it is important that we embrace the richness of our differences and seek common ground on all fronts, especially in the space sector. If we want to achieve real, tangible, and sustainable progress in the field of space, joint cooperation between countries and space organizations must be at the top of our agenda, so that we can transcend borders and challenges and build unlimited potential in sustainable space, paving the way towards a prosperous future for the space industry.
Hosted by UAE, COP28 is an ideal opportunity to work together to meet climate challenges by relying on space technologies.”
The event featured the screening of an informative video about COP28, providing an introduction to the conference. Additionally, a presentation highlighting the space industry’s involvement in the conference was delivered.
The presentations and speeches focused on showcasing the UAE’s significant initiatives and major projects undertaken by the UAE Space Agency in addressing climate challenges and promoting sustainability. Notably, attention was drawn to the Space Data Centre, an advanced digital platform that grants stakeholders access to space data. This platform enables the development of innovative algorithms and solutions to tackle both national and global challenges.
The speeches also brought attention to the significant partnership forged with Planet Labs, a renowned leader in Earth data and insights. This collaboration aims to develop a satellite data-driven loss and damage atlas, contributing to global climate resilience efforts.
The agreement strongly aligns with the vision and strategic objectives of the UAE Space Agency, which actively supports transformative initiatives and projects dedicated to combating climate change. Furthermore, the partnership reinforces the UAE’s commitment as it prepares to host COP28, underlining its dedication to addressing climate challenges on a global scale