6th Steering Committee: final stretch for the International Charter

Published on 05/08/2021
On Monday, July 6, the 6th Steering Committee of the SCO International was held under the chairmanship of the European Space Agency ESA. Welcoming the new members, the progress of the acceleration committees and the latest accreditations, the exchanges focused on the finalization of the International Charter for a signature at the COP26 in November.

The session opened with the words of Susanne Mecklenburg, Head of ESA's Climate Office: "Climate change is the major issue of the 21st century. One of the main challenges of the next decades will be to make global climate change research activable at a more local level. This issue is at the heart of the SCO and close to ESA's activities."


62 simultaneous connections versus 44 at the January 2021 committee: the SCO community is bringing the world together to act.

New members and latest labelled projects

Malta, Indonesia, Morocco, UNEP, Russia, Singapore: 5 space agencies and the United Nations Environment Programme joined the SCO in the first half of 2021, bringing the number of signatories to 33 members. Recalling that climate change is a global challenge that requires international collaboration to develop a global solution, the new entrants presented their activities and the contributions they wished to make to the consortium.

In addition to the 25 projects accredited in early 2021, a pitching session in June validated four new projects (three from the ESA/Future Earth program and one from China). The SCO project portfolio now includes 43 projects.

SCO Acceleration Committees

Following the success of the international call for projects (38 applications submitted, of which 3 were awarded the label), seven partners have organized themselves into SCO Acceleration Committees (SACs): India, Indonesia, Morocco, Gabon, China, Thailand and Mexico. These SACs are an intermediary step towards national/local SCOs, and aim to help projects that lack maturity to integrate the SCO criteria in order to obtain the label as soon as possible. Three of them presented their progress during the session.

SAC Gabon

With the objective of signing its own SCO charter before the end of the year, SAC Gabon is structuring itself around the SUMAG mangrove preservation project. Objective: to provide a general information portal and the possibility to monitor the spatial and temporal dynamics of mangroves as well as the natural and anthropogenic pressures they face.

SAC Chine

Already the pilot of two labeled projects (Open GCS and Habitat Yangtze), SAC China has the ambition, under the guidance of the Chinese space agency CNSA, to build an observation system platform for the SCO. It is also promoting the SCO, notably at the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) Development Plan Committee workshop, which was attended by space agencies and research institutes from Turkey, Mongolia, Thailand, Pakistan, Peru, Iran, Bangladesh and China.

SAC Mexique

Committed to sharing its experience, data and best practices, SAC Mexico promotes the use of satellite information to monitor the effects of climate change on the Latin American region. In 2021, it reviewed 9 projects, one of which was labeled (MexiCorn).

The SCO International Charter

Work on the Charter is progressing well. The virtual assembly took the time today to comment on each article. The objective remains to aim for an official signature of the Charter in November 2021 during the COP26 in Glasgow (UK).

Next steps

Major events for the planet are expected in the coming months, the SCO does its best to be present:

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Congress in Marseille, France, September 2021;
  • COP15 Biodiversity in Kunming (China) in October 2021;
  • COP26 in Glasgow (UK) in November 2021;
  • "Climate Fortnight" organized by France in early February 2022 on the occasion of the World Expo Dubai (United Arab Emirates);
  • International Astronautical Congress IAC 2022 in Paris (France)