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The first Arab and Islamic country to receive membership by unanimous vote… The UAE becomes member of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters

The Emirates Space Agency, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center announced that the UAE, represented by the three entities, became member of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, following unanimous vote of the members, thus becoming the first Arab and Islamic country to receive this prestigious membership.


Under the Charter, Member States pledge to share the imagery obtained from their respective satellites orbiting Earth to provide other members with high-quality images at frequent intervals to contribute to the management of natural or man-made disasters. The Charter also provides its members with high-level training opportunities led by international specialists and experts. Members are also encouraged to exchange relevant expertise, studies researches with each other.


More than 22 of the most prominent space agencies and international institutions specializing in Earth observation are currently members of the Charter. The process by which membership is attained includes a number of field visits by international experts to observe the applicant’s qualifications and provide training on the mechanisms of co-operation between charter members.



The UAE Space Agency will represent the United Arab Emirates at meetings of the Charter’s Board of Directors in order to participate in the development of its plans and policies. National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) will be the UAE’s point of contact for satellite imagery requests during the occurrence or expectation of a crisis or a disaster in the UAE or the neighboring countries. Meanwhile, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) will be the UAE authority in charge of providing and receiving information, data and satellite images through its satellites and ground stations.


Data sharing

Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director-General of the UAE Space Agency, said, “Obtaining membership of the Charter is a recognition by the most prestigious international agencies and institutions concerned with space and earth observation industry, of the advanced qualifications and facilities and space assets owned by the UAE, as well as the UAE’s ability to meet its obligations in the process of sharing data and satellite images, to assist other members in the event of any natural or man-made crisis or disaster. The UAE currently intends to contribute to the Charter through the sharing of images and data collected by DubaiSat-2, which will be joined by the UAE-built Khalifa-Sat.”



Dr. Jamal Al Hosani, Director-General of NCEMA, said, “The UAE membership of the Charter supports the presence and status of the UAE on an international level. It also facilitates an effective response and rapid recovery from crises and disasters by harnessing satellite images provided by other members. The membership will also enable other stakeholders in the UAE to gain access to the best disaster management practices in the fields of space technology and Earth observation. NCEMA is working with the UAE Space Agency and MBRSC to develop an integrated training program to qualify national talents and benefit from the satellite images provided by the Charter.”



Nasser Al Rashidi, Director of Space Policies and Legislation at the UAE Space Agency, said "The UAE has sought to become a member of this Chart to reaffirm its commitment to develop all kinds of cooperation in the field of space with other countries. The UAE’s membership is in line with the nation’s strategic objectives for the space sector, which includes the development and strengthening of international partnerships and collaboration, which will, in turn, contribute to the development of our national capabilities and competencies and strengthen the nation’s status internationally. Quick development witnessed by satellite technology in space imagery and remote sensing, the internationally increasing economic, environmental and strategic uses of data and the relevant space applications have sparked global interest in observing Earth. Today the UAE has become a regional and global leader in satellite technology, and is now manufacturing and operating competitive satellites and technology with Emirati skills and expertise.”


Hamad Al Ameri, ‎ICT Director at NCEMA said "We will work with the UAE Space Agency and the MBRSC to develop a national capacity building program, which will aim to train and qualifying national talents to process, analyse and work with satellite imagery in a manner that supports decision makers during emergencies, crises and disasters”


A System

The Charter formally came into force on 1st November 2000. It aims to provide a unified system to obtain space data and submit them to countries affected by a natural or man-made disaster through a certified and authorized entity. The Member States are committed to providing resources that support the Charter’s provisions and to contribute, through satellite imagery, in alleviating the impact of a disaster on human lives and properties.

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