This international forum for global challenges was conceived from the idea that academies and universities are present worldwide and represent a highly knowledgeable network specialized in the scientific and technological disciplines that form the foundation of space programmes. It was on this basis that the Italian space agency ASI, the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) came together to create the forum.
As the first international meeting on these matters at ministerial level, the International Space Forum focused on training and research policies associated with space programmes. It involved government representatives in charge of implementing these policies, as well as experts from national space agencies and academic and university institutions from 35 countries.
The forum aims to fuel debate on a range of topics including involving universities and academies in conceiving and operating space missions and programmes, developing innovative partnerships, promoting and assuring free access to space data by exchanging new ideas and establishing standardization processes, and tapping into academic space expertise to set the policymaking agenda.
CNES and IAF President Jean-Yves Le Gall gave a speech in which he congratulated ASI for organizing the forum and stressed the importance of government support to science and education as an excellent way to engage younger generations, as the enthusiastic public response to recent stellar space achievements in Europe has shown. He also underlined that climate change is one of the main challenges now facing humankind and that the COP22 will be the next major milestone in global efforts to tackle it. He then pointed to the continually increasing need for data processing capacity to meet scientists’ ever-growing requirements, before concluding that space will be instrumental in meeting all of these challenges.