#GLEC2019: Highlights from the ongoing GLEC conference in Morocco

Highlights of the 3 days of #GLEC2019 published by the IAF Secretariat

GLEC 2019
#GLEC2019

The Global Conference on Space for Emerging Countries – GLEC 2019, co-organized by the International Astronautical Federation – IAF and the Royal Center for Remote Sensing – CRTS with the support of the French Space Agency – CNES kicked-off yesterday, Wednesday 24 April 2019 in Marrakesh, with the Opening Ceremony which set the tone for the three-day conference.

The almost 400 delegates, from more than 20 countries, were welcomed by the Moroccan Minister of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy and the Moroccan Ministry Delegate to the Head of Government in charge of the National Defence Administration, Abdellatif Loudiyi. Both leaders talked about the importance the government of Morocco accords to space. Minister Loudiyi spoke proudly of the last two successful launches of Mohammed 6 A and B, a “testimony of the Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s eagerness to produce tools for space as an asset for socio-economic development”. Continuing on that note, Jean-Yves Le Gall, IAF President stated that “at a time when space activities are undergoing profound changes […], involving emerging nations has never been more crucial”. The Federation reconfirmed their commitment to emerging space nations when Pascale Ehrenfreund, IAF Vice President for Global Conferences and Incoming President, shared her “firm intention […] to guarantee the further development of this topical conference in future years”.

Driss El Hadani, Director of the Royal Center for Remote Sensing – CRTS declared that emerging space nations “must create their own business model to take into account their specificities and create their space programmes”.

#GLEC2019 first session touched upon the Benefits of Space Technology and Applications to Socio-Economic Development. The morning panel focused on the space agencies’ perspective featuring Heads of Agencies including Mohammed Al Ahbabi, UAE Space Agency (UAESA), Rashad Nabiyev, Azercosmos and Valanathan Munsami, South African National Space Agency (SANSA). The afternoon session focused on the Industry perspective with leaders from key global space industries such as Bruce Chesley, The Boeing Company, Jean-Loïc Galle, Thales Alenia Space and Oliver Juckenhoefel, Airbus Defence and Space. Both sessions highlighted the importance of synergies between emerging and traditional space countries, in domains such as agriculture, land planning, fisheries, navigation, health and natural resources management. Emerging countries can create an attractive environment for foreign investment funds by having the government’s strong support and as stated by Charles F. Bolden, Former NASA Administrator, “whatever country happens to be yours, you should look for ways to engage your government”.

The second session of the day, moderated by Kirsten Armstrong, Petra Strategy, focused on financial models and resourcing. Steve Bochinger, Euroconsult, reminded the delegates that “there is no funding model that fits all; it always depends on the specific national context, type of programme and objectives pursued”. Talal Al Kaissi, UAE Space Agency (UAESA), explained why the UAE invests in space: both to diversify the economy and to inspire the youth.

Looking at the future of Global Conferences, the IAF and its member, State Space Corporation Roscosmos, represented by Sergey Saveliev, announced and signed the MoA for the upcoming Global Space Exploration Conference – GLEX 2020 to take place in June 2020 in St Petersburg, Russia.

Technology and skills development was the first topic of Thursday 25 April, the second day of GLEC 2019. The session was moderated by Rania Toukebri from the Space Generation Advisory Council and the youngest moderator of the Conference. Keynote speaker Juan de Dalmau, President of the International Space University, emphasized that space industries should provide knowledge and actively support governments in developing their space plans.

Panellist Tidiane Ouattara, African Union Commission, who during his keynote on the first day stated that “Africa is the new Eldorado for Space”, also reminded the audience that for space developing countries, “the real challenge is not capacity building but capacity realization”. Jörg Feustel-Büechl, European Space Veteran and presently Consultant, identified two ways in which space-faring nations can support developing nations: first of all by “enhancing cooperation and not only by selling products”; and secondly by sharing the invaluable know-how and successful models of well-established Business Incubation Centers, such as the European Space Agency BIC.

The second session, a panel on base infrastructure requirements, moderated by Krystal Wilson, Secure World Foundation, welcomed distinguished speakers. Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, Planet, encouraged emerging nations to thoroughly look at their specific needs and to “procure data, services and applications that will truly benefit the region” before adding: “don’t do space for the sake of space but for the sake of your citizens and country”. In the same spirit, Adnan Alrais, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, underlined the value of the human factor declaring that “the focus is not only on the physical infrastructure but also on the people building it and using it”.

Highlights of the Second Day!

Recipe for Success: Seamless Integration between Industry, Government, and the Next Generation

Technology and skills development was the first topic of Thursday 25 April, the second day of GLEC 2019. The session was moderated by Rania Toukebri from the Space Generation Advisory Council and the youngest moderator of the Conference. Keynote speaker Juan de Dalmau, President of the International Space University, emphasized that space industries should provide knowledge and actively support governments in developing their space plans.

Panellist Tidiane Ouattara, African Union Commission, who during his keynote on the first day stated that “Africa is the new Eldorado for Space”, also reminded the audience that for space developing countries, “the real challenge is not capacity building but capacity realization”. Jörg Feustel-Büechl, European Space Veteran and presently Consultant, identified two ways in which space-faring nations can support developing nations: first of all by “enhancing cooperation and not only by selling products”; and secondly by sharing the invaluable know-how and successful models of well-established Business Incubation Centers, such as the European Space Agency BIC.

The second session, a panel on base infrastructure requirements, moderated by Krystal Wilson, Secure World Foundation, welcomed distinguished speakers. Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, Planet, encouraged emerging nations to thoroughly look at their specific needs and to “procure data, services and applications that will truly benefit the region” before adding: “don’t do space for the sake of space but for the sake of your citizens and country”. In the same spirit, Adnan Alrais, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, underlined the value of the human factor declaring that “the focus is not only on the physical infrastructure but also on the people building it and using it”.

To conclude the morning, the IDEA “3G” Diversity Lunch featured a special keynote by Widad Elkachradi, an 18-year-old Moroccan student of the National School of Applied Sciences of Agadir. She passionately shared her excitement for astronautics and her inspiring experience as one of twelve Moroccan who was selected to participate in the NASA Space Camp in Huntsville.

The afternoon kicked off with an exclusive keynote by Klaus-Peter Willsch, Chairman of the Parliamentary Group on Aeronautics and Space of the German Bundestag. He focused his presentation on the role of Parliaments in support of space activities and declared that “Parliamentarians have to be encouraged to invest more in space in the interest of the young people and emerging countries”.

In the afternoon, the next generation of space leaders gathered for a seminar, co-organized with the Space Generation Advisory Council – SGAC. Various stimulating keynotes preceded intense and energetic discussions both in the working groups and on the final panel. Anita Antwiwaa, Head of Operations for ANU SSTL, spoke about the importance of education to involve the younger generation in space activities and boldly reminded the older generation “that they should care”.

Highlights of the Final Day!

International Cooperation – A Major Driver for Emerging Countries’ Development in the Space Business

The last day of GLEC2019, Friday 26 April, found a unanimous consensus over the significance of the conference’s topic and served as a strong encouragement for emerging countries. Kammy Brun, China HEAD Aerospace Group, moderator of the first panel, confirmed that 2018 was a record year for global satellite contracts and “this is the right time for emerging countries to enter the space market”.

During the first keynote, Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of DLR Executive Board, stressed the importance of international cooperation to allow emerging nations to draw political attention and interest to space, leading to more funding opportunities, improved facilities and relevant data. Concentrating on the human capital skills, Kasia Clatworthy, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) asserted that “to keep your engineers in your country, fulfilled and satisfied, you have to build a long-term vision and have a propellant national space programme”. Lon Levin, GEOshare, realistically reminded the audience that “space is hard and expensive” before adding that “when deciding which foreign country one should partner with, the primary aspect to look at is financial”. On his side, Ben Baseley-Walker, Andart Global, emphasized that when it comes to emerging countries, “space should not necessarily be inspiring and aiming at going to the Moon or Mars, but rather face Earth issues that would facilitate the lives of the citizens”.

Legal and Policy was the focus of the second and last panel of the conference. Moderator David Kendall, former Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), pointed out “the need to deliver the right policy as a fundamental underpinning of space activities”. In her keynote speech, Irmgard Marboe, University of Vienna, gave an overview of the framework of global and policy issues referring to United Nations regulations including liability of launching satellites and authorization and continuing supervision. Marta Gaggero, Centro de Investigacion Difusion Aeronautico Espacial (CIDA-E) observed that “space treaties adopted by the United Nations are meant to reduce existing disparities”. Similarly, Tanjia Masson-Zwann, International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL), underlined that “emerging countries must take part in the debate in the United Nations and ratify the treaties” to develop and prosper in the space sector.

During his keynote, Mohammed Al Ahbabi, IAF Vice President for Global Membership Development and Director General of the UAE Space Agency, invited all companies from emerging countries to become members of the IAF as a propeller to enter the global space community.

GLEC2019 concluded with a wrap-up session which took stock of the various sessions held throughout the week. While different points of views on what emerging countries should focus on – downstream applications, socio-economic development or space exploration – the main outcome emerged: international cooperation is key. Jean-Yves Le Gall, IAF President, officially closed the conference with a call to action: “let us open the gate to emerging countries and allow them, as they fully deserve, to be part of the space arena”.

 

Highlights written by IAF Secretariat

Space in Africa will continue to publish updates about the event. Follow Space in Africa on Twitter to get real-time updates on the Conference




New Report: The African space economy is now worth USD 7 billion and is projected to grow at a 7.3% compound annual growth rate to exceed USD 10 billion by 2024. Read the executive summary of the African Space Industry Report - 2019 Edition to learn more about the industry. You can order the report online.



Every week, we feature the story of NewSpace companies in Africa, promoting their work and giving insight on how they are contributing to building the commercial space ecosystem in Africa. Would you like to be featured? Kindly complete this form.


LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.