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  • Plenary Session

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The Department of Space (DOS) India, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) organised the 24th session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-24) from November 14 to 17, 2017, in Bengaluru, India, under the theme “Space Technology for Enhanced Governance and Development.”

The forum was attended by 539 participants from 31 countries and regions, and ten international organizations, including six heads of space agencies and three deputy heads in Asia-Pacific countries as well as high-level officials from governmental institutions in charge of space policy. The attendees shared common issues and interests in the Asia-Pacific region and expressed their expectations of the great contributions of APRSAF toward building a cooperative framework to help solve social issues.

On the first and second day of the forum, all four working groups (Space Applications, Space Technology, Space Environment Utilization, Space Education) discussed cooperative activities to solve societal issues in the Asia-Pacific region, which focused on the advancement of space technology in the region. In addition, as an interdisciplinary activity, the Space Applications Working Group and the Space Education Working Group held a joint session on international cooperation and capacity building, and the Space Technology Working Group and the Space Environment Utilization Working Group held a joint session on capacity building and small satellite development.

The plenary session began with opening remarks by Mr. A. S. Kiran Kumar, the secretary of the DOS and the chair of the ISRO, and by Ms. Mami Oyama, the deputy director general of the Research and Development Bureau, MEXT. On the opening day, the participating countries and international organizations delivered reports on recent major activities and provided information on the trends and the background to their respective national space policies, reflecting the recommendations from APRSAF-23 held last year, and shared information on the challenges facing their countries. In these reports, the participants reconfirmed the importance of international cooperation.

Four panel discussions were held during the main plenary session. In the Heads of Agencies Session, the nine heads and deputy heads of the participating space agencies jointly acknowledged that space technology plays an important role in helping to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that through active cooperation among the countries in the region based on their expertise acquired through the various activities taken in each country, national and regional issues can be tackled collaboratively.

In the following the ISRO Session, Indian governmental agencies introduced their success stories on urban development, agriculture, fishery, water resource management, tele-education—all areas in which satellites are used—under the theme of this forum: “Space Technology for Enhanced Governance and Development.”

During the Space Policy Session, panelists shared how their countries are evolving their space policies in response to their individual national requirements, and discussed the possibility of future cooperation in the region.

In the Space Explorations Session, five panelists from space agencies that are already involved in space exploration discussed the expected benefits of space exploration for countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and the potential opportunities for emerging space nations to participate in space exploration. It was confirmed that further discussion and information exchange are to be continued in future international conferences such as the Second International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF2) to be held in March 2018, in Tokyo, Japan.

During the round-table session, participating space leaders commented on the future direction of space activities in the Asia-Pacific region and their expectations toward future APRSAF. The outcomes of APRSAF-24 were summarized in a Joint Statement, which was confirmed by the participants.

The following programs were held concurrently with the annual meeting of APRSAF: Water Rocket Event and Poster Contest for young students which were organized by SEWG, WG Initiative Workshops which was organized by SAWG and SEUWG, and exhibitions. A wide range of age groups from students to professionals participated in these programs and had active communications.

The next session of APRSAF-25, is planned to be held in Singapore in November 2018, and will be co-organized by the Singapore Space Technology Association (SSTA), MEXT and JAXA.


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