2021 UN/Austria Symposium: Space Applications for Food Systems


The 2021 UN/Austria Symposium themed “Space Applications for Food Systems” will take place online from the 7th to the 9th of September. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Austria are responsible for organising the Symposium. It is supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment,  Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, the European Space Agency,  the Association of Austrian Space Industries and Research Associations (AUSTROSPACE), the City of Graz, the Regional Government of Styria, Joanneum Research and the Graz University of Technology.

This Symposium is part of the Decade of Action to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, each of which depends to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems. The term “food systems” refers to the activities involved in producing, processing, transporting and consuming food.

The Food Systems Summit will address the following five action areas:

  • Ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all
  • Shifting to sustainable consumption patterns
  • Boosting nature-positive production systems at scale to globally meet the needs while operating within planetary boundaries
  • Advancing equitable livelihoods
  • Building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stresses

The summit will bring together members of the diplomatic community, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, research and development institutions, policy and decision-makers, senior professionals, researchers, engineers, and university professors, particularly from developing countries. Specific policy discussions will enable the exchange of experience and knowledge on integrating space applications and tools into the domain of agriculture and food security.

The Symposium’s objective is to offer users an opportunity to explore tools, policies, and approaches that could be adopted in their respective regional, national or local context.

The programme will include:

  • Keynote presentations by invited speakers;
  • Sessions:  presentations from successive speakers, followed by short questions and answers sessions with the audience;
  • Panels:  speakers give a concise introductory statement, followed by a moderated discussion among speakers and a question and answers session with the audience;
  • Pitches: brief presentations in which specific projects or initiatives are introduced, as in an “elevator pitch”.

In addition to the above, the organisers plan to propose interactive ways for discussions online among participants during the Symposium to find a common interest and discuss possible partnerships.

The symposium will focus on how space data and applications can contribute to sustainable food systems with the following topics:

  • Land use, waterways and ocean management in view of nature-positive food production;
  • Optimisation of food transport and traceability;
  • Crops and animals’ health, and prevention of epidemics;
  • The resilience of agriculture and aquaculture to vulnerabilities, shocks and stresses;
  • Disaster management and emergency response directed at agriculture recovery; and
  • The role of space applications in agriculture policies.

Speakers at the Symposium are requested to deliver an oral presentation or a demonstration of a tool via the web-based communication platform. On Monday, 6 September 2021, presenters will have the opportunity to do a test run of their presentations online. Presentations made at the Symposium will be published on the website of the Office for Outer Space Affairs (www.unoosa.org) ahead of the meeting to facilitate the engagement of participants. The event will be recorded, and videos of the presentations will be made available to the participants via an online platform after the symposium.

How to apply

To be eligible to present during the symposium, the completed application form, together with a presentation abstract, should be submitted by May 31, 2021. Interested parties who do not wish to give a presentation can submit their application by August 24, 2021. Online participation will be accepted until the maximum technical capacity of the web-based communication platform is reached

Please note that the application form is available here.

Visit the Official Link to get more information.

For additional information on the Symposium, please contact unoosa-events@un.org.

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