STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REGIONAL SPACE APPLICATIONS PROGRAMME FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
B. Issues Considered by the Ministerial Conference
C. Mandate of RESAP
D. Organizational and Management Measures
E. Generic Programme Plan
- Measures proposed for ESCAP
- Measures proposed for members
F. RESAP Implementation Status
G. Regional Assets
- At the regional level
- At the national level
H. Financial Contributions towards RESAP
I. Impediments in the Implementation of RESAP
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 was attended by nearly 300 representatives headed by 36 Ministers from 32 members and associate members of the Commission, as well as representatives from 24 international and regional organizations. 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. The Commission, in its resolution 51/11 of 1 May 1995, endorsed the Beijing Declaration and the recommendations of the Ministerial Conference. The present document describes the status of regional space technology and applications programmes, focusing on RESAP, especially in the context of the implementation of the recommendations of the Ministerial Conference.
B. Issues Considered by the Ministerial Conference
2. The Strategy and Action Plan address a number of issues, including coordination, cooperation and interaction; human resource development; standardization of hardware and software; information exchange; and promotion of awareness.
C. Mandate of RESAP
3. The thrust of RESAP is to address these issues and to build up national capacities for the utilization of space technology through regional cooperative arrangements. The Ministerial Conference gave RESAP the following mandate:
(a) To promote and coordinate regional space cooperation for development, as well as organize and implement space application projects of regional interest;
(b) To provide policies, models, techniques, information and analyses, and to conduct studies related to various issues on space applications;
(c) To establish regional networks comprising national focal points, and working groups in major space technology application sectors, and to initiate associations of universities and industry;
(d) To promote national capability-building for space applications through regional projects and regional cooperation;
(e) To contribute to human resource development through developing space-application-related education facilities in the countries of the region, arranging fellowships for advanced studies and organizing workshops and seminars;
(f) To provide technical assistance, such as advisory and consultancy services, on national policies, programmes and planning related to the establishment of space agencies/space application centres, the selection of equipment and software, acceptance testing of equipment, commissioning and operation of equipment and the promotion of space applications in general;
(g) To establish a computerized information database on space technology and applications, space organizations and experts, and have access to such information from international databases and national focal points. The database should be accessible to them and other interested entities;
(h) To provide, on a regular basis, information materials (such as newsletters and journals) on space applications and technology developments, and other activities in and outside the region for the purpose of promoting awareness of space technology applications for sustainable development;
(i) To facilitate the resolution of issues such as standardization of equipment, data formats, continued access to data, user-friendliness of systems, launching of a geostationary meteorological satellite over the Indian Ocean, and leasing of fractional transponder capacity on communication satellites;
(j) To link the ESCAP regional programme with other programmes of ESCAP, especially those concerned with agriculture, urban and rural planning, natural resources, environmental management and disaster management;
(k) To establish liaison and coordinate with countries of the region, donor countries, United Nations agencies, banking institutions and non-governmental organizations with a view to (i) bringing about harmonization and synergy in the efforts aimed at the promotion of space applications for development in the region and (ii) soliciting support in cash and in kind for the ESCAP regional programme;
(l) To prepare for the second ministerial conference on space applications for development in Asia and the Pacific.
D. Organizational and Management Measures
4. To discharge the mandate, a number of measures concerning organization and management functions were included in the Strategy and Action Plan for implementation by the ESCAP secretariat and by members of the Commission. Some of these are described below
1. Measures proposed for ESCAP:
5. The measures for the secretariat were as follows:
(a) To establish a space applications section within the secretariat;
(b) To establish networks and initiate associations for promoting regional cooperation in space applications for development, including continuing promotional efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of space technology applications. The network should comprise national focal points and working groups in major space technology sectors: remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS), satellite meteorology, satellite communications, satellite navigation and scientific satellites;
(c) To study and define various aspects of a regional cooperation mechanism for harmonizing various initiatives to further promote space technology applications;
(d) To report to the Commission at its annual sessions on the activities of RESAP.
2. Measures proposed for Members of the Commission
6. For members of the Commission, the proposed complementary measures were:
(a) To establish national committees for coordination of activities in space technology and applications;
(b) To identify a national focal point to facilitate national, regional and international cooperation for space applications for development;
(c) To bring about close interaction between national space agencies, space application centres and national focal points;
(d) To involve policy planners and end-users in national and regional space technology applications projects and promote awareness of the benefits of space technology.
E. Generic Programme Plan
7. The Action Plan also defines a generic programme of space technology and applications under several broad headings: satellite remote sensing and GIS; satellite communications; satellite meteorology; developments in space technology; development and launching of small satellites; satellite-based navigation and positioning; satellite-based data collection; scientific satellites; space science development; and implementation of Agenda 21.
F. Status of implementation of the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development
8. The activities commissioned under RESAP encompass complementary actions at both the regional and the national level, ranging from policy initiatives and institutional mechanisms to space technology development and applications.
1. At the regional level
(a) Establishment of the Space Technology Applications Section
9. ESCAP has established the Space Technology Applications Section with a Chief of Section and two professionals, all experts in various aspects of space technology and its applications. The Section is an integral component of the Environment and Natural Resources Development Division of ESCAP, and the Chief of the Section reports directly to the Director of that Division. The activities of the Section form part of the medium-term plan and programme of work of ESCAP, and they are supported by an extrabudgetary trust fund. The activities of the Section are reported to the annual sessions of the Commission, thus providing a link between the Section and the important potential beneficiaries of space technology applications, the members of the Commission.
(b) Establishment of the network
10. One of the most outstanding achievements of RESAP, as adjudged by some members, has been the establishment of a network to promote the development and applications of space technology in the region. This serves as a platform for the exchange of the information and the formation of subregional groups. The network is a three-tiered structure consisting of:
(a) The Intergovernmental Consultative Committee (ICC), which supplies policy and technical advice, reviews the annual work plan and makes recommendations on the RESAP medium-term plan. This body has met annually since the programme commenced and now has 23 active members;
(b) The four regional working groups: the Regional Working Group on Remote Sensing, GIS and Satellite-based Positioning; the Regional Working Group on Satellite Communication Applications; the Regional Working Group on Meteorological Satellite Applications and Natural Hazards Monitoring; and the Regional Working Group on Space Sciences and Technology Applications;
(c) The Regional Information Service and the Education and Training Network.
11. Senior-level professionals constitute ICC and the regional working groups. National focal points and national contact points designated by the members serve on ICC and the regional working groups respectively. Each regional working group is chaired by a coordinator elected by it for an initial term of two years. The coordinator's secretariat is based in the home country of the coordinator. ICC and the regional working groups meet once a year. Since the first Ministerial Conference, the constituent groups within the network have, in total, met more than 20 times.
(c) Harmonization of regional initiatives
12. The Ministerial Conference required the conduct of a study aimed at harmonizing various regional initiatives such as the Asia-Pacific Multilateral Cooperation in Space Technology and Applications (AP-MCSTA) and the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum. In response, the ESCAP secretariat initiated several consultations with potential donors and a project document on the subject matter was finally endorsed 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.
13. The proceedings of this exercise are contained in the publication entitled Harmonization of Various Initiatives for Promoting Regional Cooperation in Space Technology Development and Applications in the Asian and Pacific Region (ST/ESCAP/1888). The study proposed the eventual establishment of a regional space agency. The third Dialogue endorsed the framework for a dialogue forum under ESCAP.
14. The Dialogue Forum on Regional Initiatives for Space Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, the first of its kind in a United Nations Commission, held its first meeting at Ulaanbaatar on 24 and 25 June 1998, back to back with the fifth meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum. The Dialogue Forum is intended to promote dialogue among the countries of the region participating in major space initiatives.
15. The Dialogue Forum will identify common collaborative projects and develop institutional mechanisms to implement such projects under regional arrangements. One of the major goals of the Dialogue Forum is to develop, over the long term, an effective institutional mechanism, such as a regional space agency. This objective is to be approached in a step-by-step manner, as sufficient experience develops in managing substantive space technology projects on a regional basis.
(d) Liaison with other space coordination initiatives and United Nations counterparts
16. ESCAP attends the meetings of AP-MCSTA and the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum to keep abreast of developments at these forums. It maintains regular liaison with United Nations counterparts such as the Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. In October 1995, the ESCAP secretariat sought to strengthen systematic interaction between technical, finance and policy organizations in the region. This led to the inter-agency Subcommittee on Space Applications for Sustainable Development, which meets annually and comprises ESCAP, FAO, ITU, UNEP, UNDP and WMO. The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity, the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and the European Space Agency also participate in the Subcommittee's activities.
17. ESCAP became an affiliate member of CEOS in 1997. One of the three primary objectives of CEOS is to optimize the benefits of space-borne Earth observations through cooperation of its members in mission planning and in the development of compatible data products, formats, services, applications and policies. Membership of CEOS is open only to countries and agencies attaining a certain level of achievement in Earth observation. ESCAP plays an important regional role by serving as a bridge over which the experiences of the world's larger space players can be communicated to those ESCAP members - the majority - that are significant users but that have not yet developed their own Earth observation technology programmes.
(e) Standardization of data and formats
18. The participation of ESCAP in the technical meetings of CEOS also serves the interests of ESCAP members in the vital areas of standardization of data and data formats, data dissemination policies, planning for new missions and evolution of integrated global Earth space systems.
19. As another contribution towards the standardization process, ESCAP published a volume entitled GIS Standards and Standardization: A Handbook (ST/ESCAP/1856). This handbook, among other things, clarifies the meaning of GIS standards, describes different existing and emerging standards, and covers approaches and methods of developing and implementing standards, as well as related institutional, hardware/software and human resource considerations.
(f) Generic programme
20. Under the generic programme of the Action Plan, ESCAP in January 1997 commissioned two consultants familiar with regional space technology and its applications to undertake a study of small satellite applications and opportunities in the region. The experts visited key satellite technology research and application centres in China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand, and their report, Small Is Beautiful: Affordable Space Missions for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific (ST/ESCAP/1823), concludes that low-cost space projects have been rapidly growing in capability and are now within the reach of an increasing number of ESCAP members. The study proposes enhanced regional cooperation to share experiences and payload opportunities on small satellite projects. An excellent example of such collaboration has been provided by the Republic of Korea, which has shared its rich experience in small satellites with Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, among other ESCAP members.
21. The regional working groups have identified projects of common interest and have set up task forces to examine selected projects in more detail. The Regional Working Group on Remote Sensing, GIS and Satellite-based Positioning examined projects in such areas as forest resource monitoring, coastal zone management, desertification monitoring, urban and regional development planning, spatial information infrastructure and crop production forecasting. The Regional Working Group on Meteorological Satellite Applications and Natural Hazards Monitoring focused on applications of meteorological satellites for non-meteorological purposes to support sustainable development, natural hazards monitoring and assessment systems, monsoon forecasting and monitoring, and a common format for developing a homepage. The Regional Working Group on Satellite Communication Applications was engaged in integrated rural capacity-building through development and application of the satellite-based community teleservice centre concept, and promoting regional cooperation on the use of satellite-based multimedia tools for distance training for primary school teachers. The Regional Working Group on Space Sciences and Technology Applications established task forces in four fields: joint development of a common simple payload for small satellites applications; the sharing of small satellite data; low-cost ground receiving stations for small satellites; and the development of electronic media for the exchange of scientific information on space sciences and technologies.
22. RESAP has conducted 10 pilot projects on various space applications, involving 48 members and associate members. All of the projects emphasized practical and cost-effective applications rather than the promotion of technology for its own sake. The topics ranged from environment and natural resource management to disaster mitigation and rural development, and benefited policy makers, planners and other users by matching appropriate technology with national development objectives.
23. Twenty institutions participating in the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (ADEOS) project were provided satellite data free of charge. This activity, supported by Japan, also included a research subsidy for procurement of hardware and software.
(g) Exchange of data and information
24. ESCAP has established an Internet homepage, <http://www.unescap.org/>. The regional working groups on remote sensing and on satellite communication also have Web sites, while the remaining two will soon follow suit. The Space Technology Applications Section has also published Pilot Scale Feasibility Study on an Earth Space Information Network for Asia and the Pacific (ST/ESCAP/1712). In the course of the study, technical missions were conducted in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand. The purpose of the study was to determine, through site visits to potential network participants and from other sources of information, the feasibility of an operational Earth space information network for Asia and the Pacific, to be known as ESINAP, that would assist access to, and distribution of, data and information required for planning and implementing sustainable development. The study included identification of data and information requirements; network design concepts, configuration and costs; and issues related to policy and institutional matters. The study stimulated accelerated regional and national consideration of electronic and human networks for sharing Earth observation and related spatial data.
25. RESAP has maintained a vigorous publication programme to promote information-sharing and to communicate its results. Regular issues have been produced of the Asian-Pacific Remote Sensing and GIS Journal and the Space Technology Applications Newsletter, while 13 technical proceedings and handbooks have been completed since October 1994. Some 34 publications have resulted from this activity.
(h) Human resource development
26. RESAP organized seminars and workshops on topics as diverse as land and water resource management, sustainable development, land and marine resource and environment management, tropical ecosystem management and sustainable rural development. Seminars and workshops were also held on geo-information systems for coastal zone development planning, satellite communication applications for distance education, meteorological satellite applications for sustainable development, satellite-based multimedia technology applications for the promotion of rural development, development of meteorological databases and applications to disaster management, spatial information technology applications for integration of space applications with sustainable development, and integrated uses of space applications for poverty alleviation and rural development. Over 600 participants from the region attended these seminars and workshops.
27. RESAP also offered, through the courtesy of member countries, medium-term fellowships for the course on integrated applications of remote sensing and GIS for sustainable land-use planning at Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia (60 participants took this course); a long-term fellowship on GIS and remote sensing at Wuhan Technical University of Surveying and Mapping, China (26 participants); and a postgraduate course in remote sensing and GIS at the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific, India (15 participants).
(i) Preparation for the second Ministerial Conference
28. ESCAP planned and prepared for the Second Ministerial Conference. A concept paper on preparations for the Second Ministerial Conference drafted by the secretariat was discussed at a meeting of senior-level experts organized by ESCAP and by ICC. It provided guidelines for the preparation of documentation for the Conference on issues, the status of RESAP, the Strategy and Action Plan, and "Space vision 21".
2. At the national level
29. Many activities under RESAP have contributed to national capacity-building, helping to ensure continuity and self-sustainability of the network mechanism for space technology development and applications in the region. Since the first Ministerial Conference, a number of members have registered significant progress in terms of space technology infrastructure, for the development of technology as well as its applications. A few of the available examples are given below. More details can be obtained from the second edition of the compendium, issued under the title Space Technology and Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific: Compendium 1999.
30. Australia announced the FedSat project, designed to orbit a 60-kg scientific microsatellite by 2001. In January 1998, the Cooperative Research Centre for Satellite Systems was established to manage the FedSat project. The Centre is a joint venture, supported by the Commonwealth of Australia, between a group of 12 companies, universities and research agencies. Meanwhile, the ARIES hyperspectral remote sensing satellite is being developed as a commercial project. Australia is the Chair of the Working Group on Spatial Data Infrastructures in the United Nations Permanent Committee on GIS Infrastructure for Asia and the Pacific and supports the Australian Regional GPS Network with 14 sites in Australia and Antarctica.
31. Bangladesh has been actively participating in various regional and international space activities and deriving benefits from such participation. Most of the benefits come through its participation in RESAP activities.
32. China offered six long-term training programmes to ESCAP members. It is harmonizing its efforts in space technology and applications with excellent results. The linking of research institutes with commercial companies is making the former independent of government subsidies. It has launched a key project, "Research on integrated application of remote sensing, GIS and satellite-based positioning", to monitor environmental and agricultural resources and natural hazards and for further development of the technology. The meteorological satellite FY-1C, one in the FY series, and the SJ scientific satellite programme were launched in 1999, and these should offer excellent opportunities for regional cooperation.
33. In Fiji, the use of GIS/remote sensing satellite-based positioning technology is quickly gaining momentum amongst the user group. The GIS and remote sensing user groups have merged into one group under the umbrella of the Fiji Land Information Council and have been meeting regularly to discuss standards, data-sharing, development projects and technology transfer.
34. India's INSAT series of satellites provide operational services in television broadcasting, communications and meteorology. These are guided by the INSAT Coordination Committee. The IRS-1B, 1C and 1D satellite data are extensively used at the national level for resource management and in developing a programme for the Integrated Mission for Sustainable Development. Under the National Natural Resources Management System, various operational applications are carried out by central and state government agencies. IRS-P4 was recently launched using the indigenous launch vehicle. Regular training programmes for users are being conducted at various centres. The Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific (affiliated to the United Nations) offers postgraduate courses for regional participants.
35. In Indonesia, a ground station has been operated since 1993 for the acquisition and recording of data transmitted by satellites such as Landsat, SPOT, ERS and JERS. To set a firmer base for future space activities, a long-term policy was formulated at the first National Congress on Space conducted in February 1998 by the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space in cooperation with other national space-related institutions. A National Working Group on Meteorological Satellite Applications was also established, which has contributed towards improving the accuracy of monsoon monitoring and forecasting in Indonesia.
36. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a National Coordination Committee on GIS, with a secretariat at the National Cartographic Centre, functions under the Director, who is also Deputy Head of the Planning and Budget Organization. A National Space Committee has been established under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Minister for International Affairs in the Ministry of Post, Telephone and Telecommunication. An MSc degree course relevant to space technology applications is being run in cooperation with the International Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences of the Netherlands. The activities in remote sensing/GIS focus on problem-oriented applications, including land cover, urban sprawl, natural resources and environmental monitoring.
37. Japan supports regional space cooperation within the framework of RESAP, through numerous activities, including the ADEOS project, the harmonization study and the ESINAP feasibility study. The National Space Development Agency participates in regional working group activities at the host level. It is also expected to contribute to global issues such as disaster and emergency management, and environment preservation, through advances in the use of Earth observation and satellite communication technology. In recent years, Japan has been placing greater emphasis on regional and international cooperation in the domain of space, especially with the countries of the ESCAP region. It has been the largest contributor to RESAP, convenes the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum and is one of the major participants in the International Space Station.
38. Malaysia is addressing the operationalization of space remote sensing technology in three segments: user, ground and space. Application projects include national resources and environmental management; a satellite image map; a total forest fire management plan; monitoring of environmentally sensitive areas; and updating the national remote sensing inventory. A ground station is being established to receive remote sensing data. The Malaysian microsatellite TiungSat-1 has been readied for launching. At least three universities offer MSc degree programmes related to space technology, with a total output of about 50 graduates each year. A two-month course in remote sensing applications is conducted annually at the University of Technology of Malaysia. The Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment, together with other parties, is drafting a national space policy to provide direction for the integrated development of space technology.
39. Mongolia, as part of preparatory activities towards satellite communication applications, has implemented VSAT and Internet projects. In the future, the focus will be on development of rural areas through satellite communications.
40. Pakistan has undertaken a number of steps to consolidate and focus its space programme in response to national priorities. The satellite ground station for reception of NOAA, Landsat and SPOT data was upgraded. A national GIS committee was constituted to bring about GIS standardization. The Badr-B multi-mission satellite is ready for launching during 1999. The Space Applications Research Centre, Lahore, and the Aerospace Institute, Islamabad, are new additions to the existing space infrastructure. Whereas the former specializes in satellite fabrication, the latter is engaged in the education and training of space application experts.
41. The Philippines has taken appropriate steps to sustain its space technology activities. Measures to enhance its national capacity through remote sensing and GIS application projects and satellite communication applications, as well as through education and training, are being undertaken in collaboration with the private sector and some international organizations. These activities are coordinated by the Committee on Space Technology Applications of the Science and Technology Coordinating Council.
42. In the Republic of Korea, the active involvement in RESAP activities led by the Satellite Technology Research Centre has brought consensus about the importance of RESAP activities within the space community in the country. Consequently, the Ministry of Science and Technology agreed to assume the role of national focal point and officially reconfirmed the nomination of four national contact points from appropriate non-governmental organizations and research centres. The KITSAT and KOMPSAT satellite projects continued to expand and prove national capability. The country is a strong advocate of regional cooperation, especially in small satellite technology, and is participating in the AP-MCSTA project to develop a small multi-mission satellite.
43. Singapore's current projects include the Merlion project and low Earth orbit satellite research at Nanyang Technological University, in collaboration with the University of Surrey. Remote sensing research is being carried out at the Centre for Remote Imaging Sensing and Processing of the National University of Singapore.
44. In Sri Lanka, as a follow-up to the Beijing Declaration, the first Space Application Centre was established under the administration of the Arthur C. Clarke Centre with the approval of the Cabinet. It is responsible for the coordination of international, regional and local activities in relation to space science and technology applications. In late 1996, the Space Application Centre formed a national committee, chaired by the Minister of Science and Technology, to act on national space policy matters. In January 1999, the country organized the first national conference in space science and technology with the objective of formulating a national policy and an action plan.
45. In Thailand, three microsatellite programmes are in progress. The Thai microsatellite (TMSat) has been jointly developed and built by Mahanakorn University, the UCOM Group in Thailand and the University of Surrey. Extensive use of remote sensing/GIS techniques is being made in a broad spectrum of discipline areas covering natural resources, environment and meteorology in national, bilateral and multilateral projects, the latter involving the countries of the region.
46. In Viet Nam, the application of remote sensing, GIS and satellite-based positioning has developed rapidly, specifically in natural resource management and environmental monitoring. Significant results were achieved through national projects on agriculture and forestry.
G. Regional Assets
47. 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. At least 11 remote sensing and numerous meteorological satellite ground stations are running, for operational acquisition of environmental data, in 30 or so countries. There are some 30 national remote sensing programmes or centres, with more than 20,000 remote sensing specialists working on over 2,000 natural resource and environmental management projects. In recent years, over 10,000 geographic information systems have been established in various sectors, ranging from government planning offices to environmental agencies. Several countries with large territories have invested more than US$ 100 million each in the development of spatial information infrastructure. 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 institutions in the region are engaged in education and training activities relating to space technology and applications.
H. Financial Contributions
48. Traditional and non-traditional donors provided ESCAP with about US$ 3.5 million for the implementation of the Strategy and the Action Plan. In addition, the participating countries provided in-kind contributions amounting to at least US$ 2.1 million in support of RESAP. As a follow-on of the ESCAP/UNDP Regional Remote Sensing Programme launched in 1983, UNDP has also funded a programme on integrated applications of geographic information systems and remote sensing for sustainable natural resources and environmental management, which completed its five-year cycle in 1998. This programme ran concurrently with RESAP and the activities of both projects were strongly complementary. An independent evaluation of the programme was positive and it was recommended that UNDP should continue its support of RESAP. However, as a result of the shift in UNDP strategy to operate under the new Regional Cooperation Framework and after 15 years of assistance in that area, UNDP will no longer provide support for space application programmes at the regional level.
I. Impediments to Implementation
49. Despite great and rapid progress since 1994, some factors continue to impede the implementation of RESAP and, more generally, the development of sustainable space technology applications in the region. These include the following:
(a) The potential partners in the region have differing goals and perspectives;
(b) Most countries are economically weak and engrossed in day-to-day national problems, so they have little interest in international activity;
(c) There is a shortage not only of funds but also of professionals;
(d) Proper coordination and cooperation at the national level are lacking;
(e) In many cases, national focal and contact points are not in a position to interact effectively with all the relevant players at the national level;
(f) The agendas for ICC and regional working group meetings are not substantive enough;
(g) National focal and contact points do not enjoy full authority to make commitments on behalf of their government;
(h) Private industry is not adequately involved in space activities;
(i) There is no institutional mechanism, such as a regional space agency, to take up substantive projects at the regional level.
50. RESAP has helped in addressing some of the issues. However, in terms of operational space technology services and products, necessarily involving the private sector, in the future the United Nations framework does not constitute the optimum or appropriate environment.
51. Since the first Ministerial Conference in 1994, ESCAP has conducted a large number of operational activities under the Action Plan, including 16 seminars and workshops (attended by over 600 participants of the region), 8 expert group and high-level meetings, 22 RESAP network meetings, 7 surveys/studies, 10 pilot projects, 6 advisory missions, 1 study tour for senior scientists, and 34 publications.
52. Financial constraints and structural impediments notwithstanding, RESAP has contributed significantly to the enhancement of regional and national capacities for the development and application of space technology. However, there remains a significant unfinished agenda, much of which can be addressed by continuing with RESAP II. It is timely for the Second Ministerial Conference to initiate a follow-up to the harmonization study, in order that the region may, over time, develop effective institutional arrangements facilitating regional space project management.
ADEOS Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (Japan)
AP-MCSTA Asia-Pacific Multilateral Cooperation in Space Technology and Applications
APT Asia-Pacific Telecommunity
ARIES Australian Resources Information and Environment Satellite
CEOS Committee on Earth Observation Satellites
ESINAP Earth Space Information Network for Asia and the Pacific
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
GIS geographic information systems
GPS Global Positioning System
ICC Intergovernmental Consultative Committee
ITU International Telecommunication Union
NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (United States of America)
RESAP Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
VSAT very small aperture terminal
WMO World Meteorological Organization