"This is an exciting time in space", declared Jennifer Warren, Lockheed Martin Corporation Vice President for Technology Policy & Regulation Trade & Regulatory Affairs during her Keynote Speech at the Global Conference on Space and the Information Society - GLIS 2016 - . The conference held at the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva on 6 and 7 June 2016 drew the attention to the fact that space and space applications now, more than ever, have a major role to play in the shaping of a future "connected" world.
Today, the international community faces substantial challenges: digital divide, disaster management, cybersecurity, big data analysis and climate change, to name a few. The next years will see industry, governments and NGOs work together in a new era of connectivity. A combination of factors, such as the implementation of the UN Space Development Goals, the deployment of new mega constellations and the launch of new digitalized systems will strongly contribute to reaching this goal. International organisations, such as the United Nations and its agencies, UNOOSA and ITU, along with the IAF, aim to extend cooperation in space to achieve a better connected world. The road to a connected world presents substantial challenges. Karsten Geier, Head at Cyber Policy Coordination Office, Germany's Federal Foreign Office gave an interesting talk on the importance of cybersecurity, mentioning that "outer-space based as well as cyberspace programmes can present challenges to international security". Bilateral and multilateral cooperation initiatives are vital to establish rules and confidence.
New charters and agreements are being signed to facilitate effective cooperation. The Crisis Connectivity Charter, presented by Simon Gray, Vice President of Humanitarian Affairs at EUTELSAT, aims at strengthening partnerships between the satellite industry, governments and humanitarian organisations to facilitate the use of satellites for prompt crisis response during humanitarian or natural disasters. Also to mention, the COP 21 Agreement and the contribution of space technologies to its implementation presented by Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES and IAF President Elect and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presented by Simonetta di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA.
The discussions on how space can contribute to a more equalitarian world will continue during the 67th International Astronautical Congress under the theme "Making Space Affordable to All Countries". The IAF is looking forward to welcoming you there.