Report of the Second Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific (cont.)
DELHI DECLARATION ON SPACE TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS
IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC FOR IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE
IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM
We, the members and associate members of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, convening at the Second Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, held in New Delhi from 15 to 20 November 1999,
Recalling that the first Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Development in Asia and the Pacific, held in Beijing in 1994, was an important milestone in the promotion of space science and technology development and applications in the Asian and Pacific region,
Acknowledging that the launching of the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development at the first Ministerial Conference and its implementation have had a significant impact on national capacity-building, enhancing regional capabilities and raising the status of the Asian and Pacific region to be one of the fast-growing areas for space technology development and applications,
Guided by the decisions, recommendations and resolutions adopted by various United Nations and other forums on the applications and use of space technology for the benefit of humanity, and in particular:
(a) Resolution 51/11 of 1 May 1995 of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on regional cooperation on space applications for environment and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, which endorsed the Beijing Declaration on Space Technology Applications for Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific and the recommendations of the first Ministerial Conference,
(b) General Assembly resolution 51/123 of 13 December 1996 on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, which emphasized the need to increase the benefits of space technology and its applications and to contribute to an orderly growth of space activities favourable to sustained economic growth and sustainable development,
(c) The recommendation of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Development at its first session, held in Bangkok in October 1998, to continue efforts in, inter alia, the promotion of the development of remote sensing, spatial information systems and other space technology applications for environmental monitoring, natural resources development and natural disaster reduction,
(d) The recommendation of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific at its fifty-fifth session, held in Bangkok in April 1999, to continue with the activities being implemented under the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development with a view to making its implementation more effective in order to assist developing countries in gaining full benefit from space applications through national capacity-building, technical assistance, information exchange and promotional activities under technical cooperation among developing countries arrangements,
(e) The recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), held at Vienna in July 1999, bringing the impact of this important global event into the regional context and helping the region to benefit from space technology applications in the new millennium,
Noting that rapid technological developments are leading to the integrated use of space and information technologies to form Earth observation, spatial information and decision support systems that will become indispensable tools for practical applications in high priority areas,
Noting also that satellite communications and broadcasting systems, together with fibre optics provide multimedia technologies and other services, and are contributing to improved human connectivity, human resources development and poverty alleviation through applications such as distance education, rural health care and emergency relief,
Recognizing that space science research and technologies for satellite Earth observation, satellite-based positioning and navigation, and satellite communications are advancing rapidly and that new areas of technology applications keep emerging,
Taking cognizance of the fusion of space technologies and the ever-growing role of information technology and others, not only in the development of space technologies but also in the extension of their applications,
Realizing that the growing interest in regionalization and the tremendous opportunities for economies of scale in space activities generate a greater need for a genuine regional partnership arrangement among interested entities in space technology development missions and integrated operational space applications services,
Hereby affirm that we:
1. Stress the essential role of space technology and applications to environmental and natural resource management; food security; capacity-building; human resources development and education; poverty alleviation; weather forecasting; natural disaster reduction; health care and hygiene; and sustainable development planning;
2. Agree that it is essential to use practical and feasible means for the effective implementation of technology research and development programmes, including the mechanism for enhancing academic exchange and human resources development;
3. Agree that there is an urgent need to examine and institutionalize regional cooperative mechanisms appropriate for accelerating collaboration in the field of space technology to achieve a more equitable benefit for the countries of the region;
4. Share the vision for the twenty-first century aimed at regional cooperation as envisaged in "Space vision 21: the future of space technology development and applications in Asia and the Pacific", which addresses the potential for space technology applications in dealing with many of the problems facing the Asian and Pacific region, in order to improve the quality of life;
5. Adopt the overall strategy and endorse the action plan of the Strategy and Action Plan on Space Technology Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific for the New Millennium for extending regional cooperation in space applications for sustainable development designed to enhance further the accomplishments achieved through the first phase of the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development;
6. Declare the launching of the second phase of the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development, which focuses on an action-oriented, result-driven programme for optimizing human and financial resources in the region through vigorous cooperation in the areas of environmental and natural resource management; food security; capacity-building; human resources development and education; poverty alleviation; weather forecasting; natural disaster reduction; health care and hygiene; and sustainable development planning towards improving the quality of life;
7. Urge bilateral and multilateral donors and international organizations to support the implementation of the second phase of the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development;
8. Commit ourselves to participate actively in the second phase of the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development;
9. Request the Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific to convene a third Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific to review the progress on the second phase of the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development and the development efforts under the Strategy and Action Plan endorsed by the present Conference, at an appropriate time in the future to be determined by emerging conditions in the region.
STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN ON SPACE TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM
1. The first Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Development in Asia and the Pacific was organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific at Beijing from 19 to 24 September 1994. The Conference adopted the Beijing Declaration on Space Technology Applications for Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, which endorsed the Strategy for Regional Cooperation in Space Applications for Sustainable Development and the Action Plan on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific. The Conference launched the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development (RESAP) to work towards the realization of the goals set forth in the Strategy and Action Plan.
2. RESAP was implemented by ESCAP through a network comprising (a) the Intergovernmental Consultative Committee (ICC), (b) four regional working groups, one each on remote sensing, GIS and satellite-based positioning; satellite communication applications; meteorological satellite applications and natural hazards monitoring; and space sciences and technology applications, and (c) the Regional Information Service and the Education and Training Network. National focal points and national contact points represent the members on ICC and the regional working groups respectively.
3. RESAP has made a remarkable impact on the development and application of space technology in the region, thus validating the Strategy and Action Plan devised for it. However, there remains a considerable unfinished agenda that warrants continuation of RESAP in a second phase.
4. In the longer term, only an effective regional institutional framework will result in accelerated and more equitable regional benefits from space technology applications. Since the first Ministerial Conference, some thought and action have been devoted to the task of defining the fundamental nature of such a framework. First, it should be voluntary, mutually beneficial and sustainable. Second, it should demonstrate an appropriate balance between the public, private and academic sectors. It is now the right time to decide on further action to bring this long-term objective gradually closer to realization.
1. Growth of space technology and applications in the region
5. Three countries in the region have end-to-end capability covering satellite design to launching. Some nine countries are engaged in national multi-mission satellite projects. There are about 30 national remote sensing programmes and centres, with more than 20,000 remote sensing specialists working on 2,000 or so natural resource and environment management projects. Over 10,000 geographic information systems have been established. Several countries have invested US$ 100 million or more in the development of spatial information infrastructure. About 11 remote sensing satellite ground stations are running in parallel. In 1998, the region had access to more than 80 communication satellites providing over 1,700 transponders for telecommunications and television broadcasting. A number of countries have established national space coordination committees headed by senior officials. The region has also progressed in establishing education and training facilities in space technology applications.
2. Space technology trends
6. In the last five years, space technology has come a long way. The size of satellites and even their cost are being reduced while their capability is increasing, making it affordable to launch a constellation of small satellites for frequent collection, reliability and continuity of space-based services to meet national and regional needs.
7. Satellites with capability to provide "bandwidth demand" and having gigabit data rate are being proposed. Earth observation satellites with high spatial, spectral, temporal and radiometric resolutions are being planned. Satellites for remote sensing, positioning and communications are becoming fundamental elements of the modern social infrastructure. The evolution of a seamless global information infrastructure based on interconnected regional and national infrastructures, efficiently integrating terrestrial networks with satellite networks is expected to happen in the next decades. The information superhighways will provide near-real-time access to integrated services for the users.
8. In Earth observing, efforts are under way to ensure continuity of services through broadening the responsibility for the space and ground segments. The Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS), encompassing terrestrial and space systems, initiated by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and IGOS partners, was endorsed by UNISPACE III through the Vienna Declaration.
9. These technological developments should make it easier for more countries in the region to participate in practical space projects either individually or collectively.
3. Challenges facing the region
10. More than 70 per cent of the population in the region relies on agriculture, primarily depending on traditional farming practices. The agricultural production scenario is not encouraging, with available per capita arable land shrinking; non-optimal management of land and water resources; degradation of the physical environment, deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, soil salinity and alkalinity; and inadequate technological and financial inputs. Recent economic setbacks have resulted in massive job losses and reduced production in many parts of the region.
11. A burgeoning population and a lack of adequate human resources development and lack of continuing education to match the requirements of modern times are the source of major problems. Shortage of fresh water is aggravated further by its uneven distribution owing to increasing demands from agriculture and industry. Water management is a crucial issue, particularly in the arid tropics in the region, where precipitation occurs on fewer than 100 days a year and most of it is lost as evaporation and run-off. Excessive groundwater mining in many drought-prone areas in the region has resulted in sinking groundwater tables. Industrial effluents and inadequately treated sewage have been degrading groundwater quality. Easy access to safe drinking water is still a distant dream in many villages in the developing countries.
12. Natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and drought cause enormous damage and dislocation. Most developing countries in the region suffer greatly from these disasters. The region is also susceptible to landslides, forest fires, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions. The vulnerability of the region to these hazards cannot be overemphasized, particularly with the increasing concentration of human settlements in marginal lands and disaster-prone areas.
13. Developmental activities, including intensive agriculture and expanding industries, have exerted tremendous pressure on the natural environment. Strong growth in per capita use of fossil energy and fossil-fueled motor vehicles has resulted in increased carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric pollution. Global warming and the associated serious impact on climate, health and agriculture as a result of changes in the monsoon circulation, rainfall and sea level, inter alia, are likely to have dire consequences for the region in the next few decades.
14. Thus, the major challenge facing the region is in generating sustainable economic growth sufficient to feed and employ the increasing population without endangering the ecology and environment. Any framework for sustainable development at national and regional levels should take an integrated view, making effective use of frontier technologies such as space technology, biotechnology and information technology, as envisaged in Agenda 21 adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992.
4. How can space technology address the key problems of the region?
15. Many of the difficulties summarized above can be lessened by the judicious application of technology. Space technology, in particular, has special advantages in that it offers a vantage point from which environmental conditions can be continuously and objectively monitored. The "high ground" of space permits communication services and information to be distributed quickly and over wide areas. The information capacity of modern space satellites is very high and can be simultaneously shared among many users. Thus, satellite systems can fill the role of information infrastructure through which many services can be effectively provided: distance education, business communications, telemedicine, emergency services, mapping, crop monitoring, and weather and climate observation, to name a few.
16. Technological advances in the past decade mean that many of these services and products can now be obtained at modest cost. Furthermore, development and use of space technologies may act as a catalyst for national and regional capacity-building, and frequently serve as a driver of industrial growth and more efficient resource management. In summary, appropriate space technologies may create wealth and improve the quality of life over large areas and in a sustainable manner.
C. Second Ministerial Conference
17. At its fifty-third session, the Commission recognized the need to prepare the region further for expanded and effective practical uses of space technologies for the twenty-first century. It requested the secretariat to take necessary measures to initiate early preparation for the Second Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, to be convened in 1999. The Commission stressed that the Conference should be prepared with a fresh new vision, taking into account the technological trends, opportunities and challenges of the new millennium. The present document defines the Strategy and Action Plan for the second phase of RESAP, RESAP II.
D. Issues in regional cooperation
18. A number of issues at both the regional and the national level are more or less the same as were identified at the first Ministerial Conference. In revisiting these issues, inputs derived from an ESCAP mission to four selected countries in the region, as well as the proceedings of the meetings of ICC and the regional working groups, have been reflected.
1. Regional issues
19. The following regional issues were identified:
2. National issues
20. The following national issues were identified:
21. Many of the issues identified at the first Ministerial Conference require further time and effort to resolve. Broadly speaking, the strategy adopted earlier should continue at both the regional and the national level.
1. Regional strategies
(a) RESAP II
22. The second phase of RESAP, RESAP II, is proposed for implementation by ESCAP under the existing, but strengthened, network.
(b) Space Technology Applications Section
23. All possible means should be explored to increase the number of professional personnel in the Space Technology Applications Section. The Section homepage on the Internet should be expanded. Newsletters and journals should be reduced and instead put on the homepage. However, the Section should continue to publish material at least annually to disseminate research and development (R and D) as well as the operational progress of RESAP. To reduce travel time, the use of video teleconferencing facilities should be considered.
(c) Operationalization of the network
24. The membership of the regional working groups could be enlarged by having more national contact points for each working group, to include experts from space agencies, academia, R and D institutions and industry. Member governments of ICC should nominate senior-level representatives as national focal and contact points. The agenda for ICC and the regional working group meetings should be substantive. Its annotated version should be sent to the members sufficiently in advance of the meetings to enable representatives to consult their governments. Because ICC fulfils an important policy-determining role for the formulation and implementation of RESAP, attendance at ICC meetings should be regular and well supported by expert advice. Representatives should have the authority to make commitments on behalf of their governments. Regional working groups should create their own homepages.
(d) Introduction of space applications in the Commission and funding institutions
25. Space technology applications provide valuable data, information and an enabling tool for sound decision-making on projects, their planning and implementation. Enhanced use of these technologies by the secretariat and in other ESCAP activities would emphasize the relevance of space technology in regional and national development. Space applications could also be introduced on the above lines by funding agencies and development banks such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
(e) Spatial data infrastructure
26. Support and coordination for an operational Earth space information network should proceed, taking into consideration related initiatives such as the Asia-Pacific Advanced Network, the Asia-Pacific Information Infrastructure, the work of CEOS and the Global Observation Information Network initiative of the United States of America and Japan, and make full use of the regional Permanent Committee on Geographic Information System Infrastructure for Asia and the Pacific.
27. The region's natural resources are increasingly affected by non-sustainable use caused by population pressure and associated environmental degradation. A more advanced spatial data infrastructure is needed to assess and monitor these processes on a regional scale. Such a development is a prerequisite for adequate national reporting on action arising from the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which, among other things, called for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through joint implementation, a clean development mechanism and possible implementation of an emission trading scheme.
28. A multi-purpose natural resource database using commonly agreed standards and classifications should be established and maintained for the Asian and Pacific subregions. It should include digital base maps and both current and archival information derived from Earth observation and in situ measurement. Land cover, land use, hydrological and oceanic information may be gathered by national government agencies in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Meteorological Organization, IGOS, ESCAP and other coordination and funding bodies as necessary. Based on the successful implementation of the AFRICOVER project by FAO and the methods and tools developed in that project, ESCAP and its member countries should consider planning jointly the preparation of a multi-purpose digital land-cover map and database. Such a regional project would significantly strengthen national capacity to systematically assess natural resources and to monitor environmental change, as recommended in Agenda 21.
(f) Harmonization of regional initiatives
29. Institutional arrangements should be in place to strengthen regional cooperation. Towards that end, ESCAP was mandated by the first Ministerial Conference to conduct a study aimed at harmonizing various regional initiatives for the promotion of space technology applications. This study was conducted with funding support from the Government of Japan through the Japan-ESCAP Cooperation Fund. The project, encompassing a policy survey, a high-level consultative mission, concept formulation and three Dialogues (held in China, India and Thailand), was initiated in June 1996 and completed in December 1997. The harmonization study concluded that a regional space agency was a desirable eventual outcome that should be achieved in a gradual and step-wise fashion. Towards that end, the third Dialogue agreed to establish a Dialogue Forum comprising relatively advanced regional space players and major regional initiatives, namely the Asia-Pacific Conference on Multilateral Cooperation in Space Technology and Applications and the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum.
30. The Dialogue Forum on Regional Initiatives for Space Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, the first of its kind in a United Nations Commission, is intended (a) to promote dialogue between the countries of the region participating in major space initiatives, (b) to explore common cooperative projects and (c) to consider the concept of a regional space agency through consultation and dialogue. ESCAP organized the first meeting of the Dialogue Forum at Ulaanbaatar on 24 and 25 June 1998, back to back with the fifth meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum.
31. Full realization of space development in the region will be accelerated and made more equitable through an effective regional cooperative mechanism. This should, on a long-term basis, result in a permanent arrangement such as a regional space agency that would help to overcome the high cost barrier preventing many smaller economies from participating in space projects. Through economies of scale and reduced duplication of effort, the mechanism would provide a critical mass that should stimulate private sector space enterprise and give a stronger regional presence to global space affairs. To assist the Dialogue Forum in its efforts, ESCAP should commission a broadly based expert group to study and identify potential models for regional cooperative mechanisms. The potential role of the private sector should be especially considered.
32. ESCAP should also encourage the formation of subregional groups, whenever necessary and feasible, for the implementation of projects of common interest and strengthen its interaction with successful international initiatives such as CEOS and IGOS partners.
(g) Association of regional space industries
33. ESCAP should act as a catalyst for the establishment of an association of regional space businesses on the principle of joint ventures among members. This platform should prove indispensable in the practical implementation of larger space projects.
(h) Third Ministerial Conference
34. A high-level forum such as a ministerial conference is necessary to intensify regional cooperation, mobilize stronger political will and collectively address a range of issues. A third Ministerial Conference should be convened at an appropriate time. It might consider concrete steps towards an institutional framework for regional space development.
(i) Human resources development
35. ESCAP should strengthen its Regional Information Service and Education and Training Network to enable it to play a catalytic role in strengthening the existing regional network on space education and training based on the existing regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific and other national centres of excellence. The sharing of expertise and facilities among such centres of excellence should be able to address the continuous need for skilled and trained personnel in various space-related fields. In addition, continuous efforts in promoting regional education network building would have far-reaching impacts in national capacity-building. Towards this end, financial and other support is sought from bilateral and international development agencies.
2. National strategies
(a) National space agencies
36. Those countries with sufficiently large-scale and continuous space projects may find that a national space agency is an effective focal point for space-related activities at the national as well as the regional level. To bring the users closer to the scene of action, the space agency should interact with major user sectors such as agriculture, environment, land use, telecommunications, meteorology, and planning and development. In addition, there should be science and technology professionals from the universities and private industry to carry out R and D and commercialize space applications. Selected space applications, when "mature", should be transplanted to the respective user departments. Private sector industries should be provided with access to technology developed at the space agency, and the technology recipient industry in return should extend cash and in-kind support to the space agency. Agencies engaged in space projects that could involve regional partners should make "announcements of opportunity" on the Internet and other media.
(b) Human resources development
37. More universities should offer courses related to space technology such as satellite-based positioning, satellite communications, satellite meteorology and satellite remote sensing environment monitoring in their standard postgraduate degree programmes in physics, meteorology, electronics, electrical engineering, telecommunications engineering and computer hardware and software. Scholarships and travel allowances should be offered to facilitate the effective use of existing regional centres of excellence.
38. National coordination mechanisms should be further strengthened or, if they are not already in existence, established. They should promote the appropriate use of space technology in meeting national development needs. In addition, they could coordinate space technology activities at the national level, promote regional cooperation and arrange funds.
(d) Privatization of space
39. With new economic realities, many space agencies and space-related government organizations are developing partnerships with commercial enterprises for the delivery and operation of selected elements of space infrastructure. Suitable policies should be implemented to bring about a close partnership between the government and private sector industry for affordable and user-friendly services to the community at large.
(e) Promotional efforts
40. In addition to holding national workshops, broadcasting programmes on radio and television, and writing articles for the press, the emphasis should be on creating objective homepages and their continual improvement, as well as the extension of Internet facilities.
(f) Extra funding
41. The shift in UNDP strategy to operate under the Regional Cooperation Framework means that UNDP will no longer provide support for a regional remote sensing programme. Scientists and their departments should prepare viable project proposals that address problems related to education, food, poverty, the environment and other issues and take these up with UNDP or other relevant institutions for funding support.
F. Action Plan
42. The major issues identified earlier require ways and means to accomplish the following:
43. The Action Plan is geared towards addressing the major issues and helping to solve the pressing problems of the region. In devising the Action Plan, the experience gained in the implementation of RESAP has been of great benefit.
1. At the regional level
44. The following recommendations are made based on the various strategies discussed earlier:
2. At the national level
(a) Need for national focus for space technology development and applications
45. The following recommendations are made towards a national focus for space technology development and applications:
(b) Bridging of information gaps and undertaking of promotional activities
46. The following recommendation is made towards bridging the information gap:
(c) Ways and means of generating funds
47. The following recommendations are made to generate funds: