Attend the 2024 UN/Austria Symposium

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The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) invites interested individuals to register for its hybrid 2024 UN/Austria Symposium, themed “Climate Action: Transforming Space-based Technology Projects into Sustainable Services that Support Policy-making,” which will be held between 17 and 18 July 2024 in Graz, Austria.

About the 2024 UN/Austria Symposium

Space applications and technologies have significant potential to contribute to mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. Every year, demonstrations of new innovative technologies and pilot projects promise to address forest fires, land degradation, floods, droughts, biodiversity loss, agriculture, disaster management, and more. Yet, many of these projects struggle to take off or fail to achieve long-term success. Beyond technical feasibility in transitioning from a technical project to a sustainable service is a lack of understanding of how to make it happen.

Technical innovation without effective implementation does not lead to meaningful change. Taking the right steps to transform a technical project into a sustainable service with a tangible, measurable impact on people’s lives is essential to ensuring that those who need solutions are empowered and those who can help do so in a financially viable and responsible way. Successful cases integrate and manage social, financial, political, and regulatory dynamics to accelerate the transformation.

The UN/Austria Symposium 2024 aims to bridge the gap between space applications and technology providers, users and wider community. It aims to provide a diverse and inclusive multi-stakeholder platform to raise awareness of the challenges in transitioning from a technical project into a sustainable service, facilitate knowledge exchange, and share lessons on how to do so successfully. The symposium in Graz will share lessons learnt and success factors in transforming projects into sustainable services for climate action.

The presentations and discussions will address the role of governmental support, financing, capacity building, user empowerment, and impact measurement metrics, among other topics. Successful case studies from various countries and organisations will also be discussed. The symposium aims to stimulate the cross-fertilisation of ideas and experiences among policymakers, service providers, the private sector, academia, and user communities and foster collaborations among different groups.

Objectives

The symposium has the following objectives:

  1. To demonstrate how initiatives based on space applications have been successfully developed and implemented in different countries.
  2. To promote the exchange of best practices in transforming technical projects into sustainable services that have measurable impact and meet the demand and needs of developing countries in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
  3. To share experiences and explore how space-based services can be used to comply with or support policies about climate action according to national priorities.
  4. The aim is to present available toolboxes that have already been implemented through case studies or pilot projects at a country level to comply with regulations related to climate action and encourage the adoption of tested tools and approaches.
  5. To raise awareness of the Space for Climate Observatory (SCO) and relevant space-related activities, services, and cooperation programmes among different user groups, particularly government officials, the diplomatic community, UN and international agencies, and non-governmental organisations.
  6. Create opportunities for cooperation and collaboration with funding organisations and international organisations.
  7. To report to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space through the Scientific and Technical Sub-committee.
Programme

The programme includes:  

  1. Keynote presentations: given by invited speakers.  
  2. Panel discussions: roundtables during which speakers give a short presentation, followed by a moderated discussion among speakers and Q&A with the audience.  
  3. Country case: a panel discussion focusing on a particular country.
  4. Video pitches: short presentations introducing specific projects or initiatives in less than 3 minutes.    
  5. Social events include evening receptions and a guided tour of Graz (TBC).
  6. Networking opportunities.

N.B: The organisers will release a detailed programme in June 2024.

The symposium will discuss the following sub-themes.

  1. Funding and financing: Speakers will share their experiences transitioning from a pilot project into a successful service. Financial experts will give us an overview of the different types of funding and a more in-depth understanding of what model works best under what circumstances.
  2. User engagement and capacity building: Speakers will share their success in engaging users and capacity-building approaches, common drivers of success, practical ways to identify, define and address local needs and advice for other practitioners.
  3. Making success visible: Speakers will explain success factors and share lessons learnt from impact-oriented approaches and accompanying monitoring and evaluation methods.
  4. Role of governments and intergovernmental agencies: Speakers will share their approaches in supporting user uptake and integration of space solutions within different policy areas.
Call for Abstracts

The UN/Austria Symposium invites you to submit abstracts for consideration. Please submit the abstract within the registration form before 7 April 2024. Late submissions will not be considered.  This year, the symposium will focus on how space-based technology projects have progressed to become successful services. The abstract should be in line with the main theme of the symposium and linked to the symposium’s sub-themes.

When submitting abstracts for this symposium, please note that:

  1. Presentation of successful implementations and lessons learnt are strongly encouraged.
  2. Abstracts reporting on activities that have already taken place and have concrete results will be given preference over those primarily focused on theories, concepts and plans for the future.
  3. Abstracts covering topics/activities presented at a prior UN/Austria Symposium must state this explicitly and detail the additional information to be presented and the added value that this represents.
Dates and Venue 

The symposium will be held from 17 to 18 July 2024 in Graz, Austria, as well as online via Webex. The venue is Graz University of Technology, Inffeldgasse 12, 8010 Graz, Austria.

Important Information
  1. Click here to register.
  2. Deadline for submission of abstract: 7 April 2024
  3. Deadline for registration to attend in person: 14 April 2024
  4. Deadline for registration to attend online: 10 July 2024

Those interested in participating in person will be selected up to the room’s maximum capacity based on relevant professional and/or academic experience.

Expected Participants

The symposium is aimed at members of the diplomatic community, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, research and development institutions, policy and decision-makers, the private sector, senior experts, scientists, engineers and university educators, especially from developing countries.

Representatives from the various permanent missions of United Nations Member States in Vienna and representatives from various United Nations agencies and other international organisations will be invited to the symposium. The aim is to promote dialogue not only between policy-makers but also with the private sector and end-users. Representatives from the space applications industry are also welcome to attend.

The Office for Outer Space Affairs supports gender mainstreaming in its programmes and advocates for balanced representation from different perspectives.

Kindly check here to learn more about the symposium, 

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