Working Group on Space and Global Health
Mandate of the Working Group on Space and Global Health
The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, at its sixty-first session held from 20 to 29 June 2018, agreed to introduce a new item on Space and global health in the agenda of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC), and also agreed that a working group, established under that agenda item, should be convened at the fifty-sixth session of the Subcommittee in 2019, with
Antoine Geissbühler (Switzerland) as Chair. The Committee further agreed that the Chair of the newly established working group, together with the Secretariat, would present to the fifty-sixth session of the Subcommittee, a proposal for a multi-year workplan for that working group, taking into account the role of the Expert Group on Space and Global Health.
2019 Meeting of the Working Group on Space and Global Health
The Working Group, convened in February 2019, held three meetings, at which it agreed on its method of work and multi-year workplan. The
Spanish) of the Working Group is contained in Annex III of the Report of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on its fifty-sixth session, held in Vienna from 11 to 22 February 2019.
The full text of the Report of the Subcommittee is available in the following languages:
On 13-14 February 2019, the Working Group held informal meetings at which participants heard
presentations delivered by
the Russian Federation,
the United States of America, the observers for the
European Space Agency, the
Space Generation Advisory Council, and
academia. In addition, the Working Group benefited from presentations by
France, delivered during the plenary session of STSC.
At its meeting in 2019, the Working Group noted that the
University of Koblenz-Landau (Germany) would help the Working Group in setting up a
shared information resource to promote the development of free and open educational resources on space and global health. That resource would provide an additional source of information and would be set up in coordination with the establishment of the web page for the Working Group by UNOOSA.
Multi-year workplan of the Working Group (2019-2022)
- Agree on methods of work and workplan.
- Develop a questionnaire, to be circulated by the Secretariat, to elicit the contributions of States members of the Committee, international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations with permanent observer status with the Committee, United Nations entities, the Group on Earth Observations, the World Organization for Animal Health, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Doctors Without Borders on experiences and practices in the use of space science and technology for global health, and on practices and initiatives, current or planned (concepts, science, capacity-building and operations) in the use of space (technology, applications, practices and initiatives) in support of global health and for attaining the health-related Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Review contributions received in response to the questionnaire. Hold a general exchange of views on possible existing gaps in national, regional and international capacities in using space science and technology and their applications for global health.
- Prepare possible contributions by the Working Group to the Working Group on the "Space2030" Agenda of the Committee.
- The Chair of the Working Group to prepare a draft set of recommendations on specific topics of interest within the health and space domains that could provide an orientation for analysing possible existing gaps in national, regional and international capacities in using space science and technology and their applications for global health, taking into account the "Space2030" agenda, with a view of presenting those recommendations to the General Assembly in the form of a draft resolution.
- The Secretariat to continue to invite contributions to the questionnaire.
- The Chair of the Working Group to prepare a first draft of the report of the Working Group to the Subcommittee.
- Review the draft set of recommendations presented by the Chair of the Working Group on current uses of space (technology, applications, practices and initiatives) in support of global health.
- The Chair of the Working Group to submit a first draft of the report of the Working Group to the Subcommittee and a corresponding draft resolution to be submitted to the General Assembly.
- Review and finalize the report of the Working Group to the Subcommittee, and review and finalize a draft resolution, to be considered for endorsement by the Committee with a view to its adoption by the General Assembly.
- Determine whether the workplan should be extended to cover potential future work. If the workplan is not extended, discontinue the Working Group.
Health as UNISPACE+50 Thematic Priority (2018)
The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space at its fifty-ninth session in 2016, agreed on seven thematic priorities of UNISPACE+50, a 2018 commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE).
Thematic priority 5 of UNISPACE+50, on
Strengthened space cooperation for global health, had the following objectives:
- (a) Improve the use of space technologies and space-based information and systems in the global health domain;
- (b) Promote enhanced cooperation and sharing of information in emergencies, epidemics and early warning events, as well as on environmental parameters;
- (c) Enhance the capability to integrate health data into disaster management plans;
- (d) Strengthen capacity-building in advancing space technologies in global health efforts; and
- (e) Identify governance and cooperation mechanisms to support these objectives.
United Nations/World Health Organization/Switzerland Conference on Strengthening Space Cooperation for Global Health was organized as a flagship conference under the UNISPACE+50 Thematic priority 5. The Conference was organized jointly by the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Switzerland, with support from the European Space Agency (ESA),and hosted by WHO at its headquarters in Geneva from 23 to 25 August 2017.
STSC Expert Group on Space and Global Health (2015-2018)
To advance the work in the area of space and health, the
Expert Group on Space and Global Health of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space had been established in 2014 and had held four meetings in the period 2015-2018.
Action Team 6 Follow-up Initiative (AT6-FUI) (2011-2014)
Action Team 6 Follow-up Initiative (AT6-FUI) under the leadership of the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany, held a series of workshops with the support of the Office of Outer Space Affairs, to promote the creation of an open community approach to apply spatial methods in addressing targeted health issues in the world.
UNISPACE III Action Team on Public Health (2001-2011)
The outcome document of the
Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (
UNISPACE III), entitled
"The Space Millennium: Vienna Declaration on Space and Human Development" declared that in:
- using space applications for human security, development and welfare: action should be taken to improve public health services by expanding and coordinating space-based services for telemedicine and for controlling infectious diseases;
- advancing scientific knowledge of space and protecting the space environment: action should be taken to improve the scientific knowledge of near and outer space by promoting cooperative activities in such areas as ... space biology and medicine... .
Action Team on Public Health (action team 6) was officially created in 2001 to follow up the implementation of the health-related recommendations of UNISPACE III . The Action Team's mission was defined as to foster the implementation of tele-health for developing countries and improve public health services by facilitating the application of space technologies in early warning of infectious diseases. In 2011, the action team produced its
Additional background documents:
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