8th SCO International Steering Committee

Published on 01/03/2022
On Saturday 5 February 2022, the members of SCO met on the sidelines of the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. While the national SCOs shared their respective progress, GEO invited the SCO to become one of its participating organisations and all eyes are already turned towards the two major events expected in 2022.

As a preamble, Mr Mohsen AL AWADHI, Director of the Space Missions Department (UAESA) thanked CNES and the French Pavilion of Expo 2020 for hosting this session of the Steering Committee.

He went on to outline UAESA's ambition to use satellite data to support the fight against climate change and food security, emphasising the importance of coming up with ideas that are technically feasible, scalable and innovative. He hailed the spirit of global cooperation of the SCO and reminded the necessity to "join with like-minded partners to protect people, preserve our planet and ensure a better future for the next generations".

National SCO update

Free to follow the path laid out by SCO France, the national SCOs are gradually stepping up.

SCO France

Thanks to the now annual call for projects, SCO France is managing 36 projects, leaving aside the new projects that will be certified in March 2022. In 2021, it set up its Quarterly Meetings dedicated to projects, published a guide to best help the valorisation of projects and released the SCO Portfolio listing all the projects. It also held its first Congress.

SCO Gabon

In 2021, the Gabonese space agency AGEOS has actively fostered cooperation with relevant partners and administrations. Five meetings were held to mobilise local partners and organise a call for projects, resulting in a reviewing process. For 2022, the main objectives are to validate the signature of the SCO Gabon charter, and to certify SCO projects, including one focusing on mangroves.

SCO Mexico

Given the impact of climate change on agricultural areas and the modification of the precipitation regime, the objective of SCO Mexico is to integrate satellite observations with physical models that could help Mexican actors to go down to a finer resolution and have more agricultural applications. To validate the resulting projects, the Mexican Space Agency AEM relies on all available information and methodologies. For instance, the Mexicorn project (certified SCO in 2021) provides a website open to all users, and is now developing a second site devoted to more operational products, with some expected results by the end of 2022.

Focus on the UAESA SAS programme

UAESA launched the Space Analytics and Solutions programme as a competition targeting scientists, entrepreneurs, academics and innovators to address climate and food security challenges by creating applications based on satellite data. Announced in mid-March 2022, the winning projects will receive funding and mentoring from UAESA.

The SCO Charter

After some rewording following the suggestions made during the session, the Charter will be sent for final review to all SCO members to come into force on 1st September 2022.

This Charter will be accompanied by rules of procedure, for which a working group will quickly be launched with the aim of having this document adopted at the next session of the Steering Committee.

Next steps

  • Strengthening the partnership with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO): after explaining how the two could mutually amplify the scope of their work, GEO officially offered to SCO to be a Participating Organisation and emphasised the possibility of coordinating around COP 27 and 28.
  • All SCO members are invited to take part in the preparation towards two major events in 2022, namely the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) and COP 27.

For the IAC, which will take place in Paris from 18 to 22 September 2022, a plenary proposal has been submitted to organise a round table with members from different continents about the use of SCO projects for adaptation to the impacts of climate change. In parallel, it is proposed to create a “task force” to coordinate the presence of SCO at COP 27, scheduled for 7-18 November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt