Friday 29 January, the Space Climate Observatory (SCO) held its fifth Steering Committee meeting, chaired by Zhang Kejian, Administrator of the China National Space Administration (CNSA). The meeting was attended by 15 member agencies and organizations. Future signatory nations were invited as observers to contribute to the process of drafting the SCO’s international charter.
In his introductory address to the meeting, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall began by warmly welcoming the representatives from Egypt, Morocco, Russia and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which are set to join the SCO community now numbering 27 agencies and international organizations. Since 2019 and the signature of the declaration marking the creation of this unique international initiative, members have gradually mapped out an organization and framework enabling it to quickly launch a first international call for projects under the high patronage of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The collective efforts of SCO members have spawned more than 40 applications providing operational solutions to challenges related to floods, air quality, agriculture and much more besides for territories all over the world. These applications will be deployed within the next two years. The SCO is today acknowledged in the global community as a key initiative mobilizing international space expertise, along with research and industry partners, in the fight against climate change. Last January, it was presented at the One Planet Summit organized by French President Macron in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Bank as an operational tool supporting vulnerable territories. The 2021 Climate Adaptation Summit gathering world leaders and local stakeholders has also put forward the initiative as a commitment to make our world more resilient to the effects of climate change.
Lastly, this fifth Steering Committee meeting provided the opportunity to start work on drafting and adopting a charter to further define the initiative’s scope and governance. This international charter will be presented during the COP 26 conference, and will be a major contribution of the space sector to tackling climate change.