26 January 2022 News

IAF President calls for greater global cooperation

IAF (International Astronautical Federation) President, Pascale Ehrenfreund.
IAF (International Astronautical Federation) President, Pascale Ehrenfreund.

Geopolitical rivalries are posing risks to the space environment including the accumulation of space debris, warned IAF (International Astronautical Federation) President, Pascale Ehrenfreund, at the 14th European Space Conference held at Egmont Palace, Brussels, this week.

Speaking at ‘A New Era for European Space: Turning Vision into Action' she said: "We must work together to address the issue of Space Traffic Management and encourage responsible and sustainable activities in outer space.

"In a time when humanity is faced with many global challenges, from climate change and the COVID pandemic to poverty and security threats, it is crucial that we prioritise global collaboration and peace both on Earth and in outer space.

"We need effective international cooperation, multi-stakeholder partnerships and the support of society to respond to our future challenges on Earth," she told delegates.

Ehrenfreund said space applications had become “an integral part of our daily lives” and, as a result, the space sector is increasingly integrated with other economic sectors.

“There are numerous new business opportunities for innovators and companies to pursue that will support the European Green deal, international climate agreements and consequently benefit citizens on Earth.”

Boosting ‘European Space Entrepreneurship’ was a key topic of discussion at the conference and Ehrenfreund suggested that one way forward was to offer young innovators more support.

“We need to speed up radical innovations and encourage venture capital firms and angel investors to recognise the great potential and impact the space sector has for many other economies,” she explained.

One example she cited is the future potential of Earth observation where space services and applications increasingly form an important backbone to sustainable development.

“Space monitoring is essential for the fight against climate change, helping companies evaluate the carbon footprint of their supply chains and providing the data to support environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores.”

The IAF President also emphasised the role of the International Astronautical Federation in connecting the entire space community, overcoming political and geographical boundaries and focusing on common goals and endeavours.

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