United Nations/World Health Organization/Switzerland Conference on Strengthening Space Cooperation for Global Health

The event is organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Switzerland.

European Space Agency (ESA)

Wed, Aug 23 - Fri, Aug 25 2017

United Nations/World Health Organization/Switzerland Conference on Strengthening Space Cooperation for Global Health

Rationale and Context

The conference will have UNISPACE+50 Thematic Priority 5 - "Strengthened Space Cooperation for Global Health" - as the central theme while also considering the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and will aim at fostering dialogue on how to create and reinforce relevant partnerships for better utilization of space-based assets, data and technologies in addressing global health. The conference will cover a number of essential aspects such as showcasing global health initiatives and their use of space technologies, data access, data provision services and information sharing - including data and services interoperability, capacity building, funding for gap filling projects, identification of key stakeholders and further definition of a roadmap for progressing in the development of this thematic priority. The outcomes and recommendations identified will provide inputs for the report on this thematic priority to be delivered for UNISPACE+50.

Applications of space-based systems to global health could be classified in three main areas through the following activities:

  • Earth observation/Remote Sensing: collecting valuable local, regional, and global scale data and information that can support public health decision-making, such as for epidemics, disease management, and planning for well-being and to study and monitor vector-borne diseases
  • Telecommunication/positioning and tracking: supporting tele-health and tele-medicine applications for transmitting medical advice and information to and from rural or isolated areas with limited access to adequate medical support, tele-epidemiology and tracking vector-borne diseases
  • Space-based research (such as on-board the International Space Station): study physiologic reactions and identifying potential cures and treatments for major diseases, such as cancer

Online registration: The application deadline is 23 July 2017 for applicants seeking funding support and 1 August 2017 for self-funded applicants. Please ensure that your application is complete and correct before submitting. Once you have submitted your application, you will not be able to make further changes.

The main objectives guiding the organization of the conference are those defined under the thematic priority on strengthened space cooperation for global health, also in line with the longer-term objectives of COPUOS, UNOOSA and WHO:

  • To improve the use of space technologies and space-based information and systems in the global health domain,
  • To promote enhanced cooperation and sharing of information in emergencies, epidemics and early warning events, as well as on environmental parameters,
  • To enhance capability in integrating health data in disaster management plans,
  • To strengthen capacity-building in advancing space technologies in global health efforts,
  • To identify governance and cooperation mechanisms to support this objective.

Anticipated Outcomes

The Conference shall be a starting point for building an active community of practice interested in pursuing collaborations, capacity building activities and enabling a growing network of experts engaged in the use of space sciences and technologies for global health applications. It is foreseen that all conference participants, representatives of UN entities attending and representatives of WHO technical departments from all six regions of WHO will be better informed about the potential contributions of space technology applicable to their mandated activities, and that specific activities, applications or technologies will be identified for concrete follow-up initiatives and projects.

Funding opportunities

Limited funding oppourtunities are available for participants from developing countries, detailed information on this as well as the application deadline can be found on the conference website below.

(a) Staff and officials of UNOOSA and WHO (b) Relevant space agency representatives (c) Relevant experts and practitioners from other United Nations or International Organizations (d) Representatives of the Permanent Missions in Geneva (e) Experts, policy-makers from member states, and from other relevant organizations active in the field of space and/or health.

World Health Organization Headquarters