At the opening ceremony, Jean-Yves Le Gall recalled IAF’s inception in 1951 at the height of the Cold War with the aim of encouraging dialogue and cooperation between the world’s scientists despite political divergences. IAF today has 343 members from 68 countries. He then explained how, in September 2016 as the newly elected President of IAF, he established a Global Innovation Agenda 2016-2019 to guarantee the Federation’s sustainable development and make it fit for purpose to face the global challenges that lie ahead—in short, to align it with its motto of Connecting @ll Space People. This agenda, which seeks to open up the space community, is built on seven priority actions. One of these to which IAF’s President attaches special importance is fostering the principles of 3G diversity—3G standing for geography, generation and gender.
Responding to Jorge Menéndez’s enthusiastic address, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “I think it is now clear to everybody that putting satellites into orbit can furnish direct and tangible benefits to people on Earth. Space applications for Earth observation, telecoms and global navigation can play a vital role in supporting disaster risk reduction and recovery efforts by providing accurate and timely information. GLAC 2018 offers us all the opportunity to share programmatic, technical and policy information, as well as collaborative solutions, challenges, lessons learnt and paths forward among all nations with the desire to improve space applications and promote their usage.” He concluded with an invitation to attend IAF’s next International Astronautical Congress (IAC) to be held in Bremen, Germany, from Monday 1 to Friday 5 October, on the theme of “Involving Everyone”.