November 30 - December 3, 2021
November 30 - December 3, 2021
Due to the global spread of COVID-19 since early 2020, last year’s annual meeting of the APRSAF could not be organized. However, albeit in an online format, it was a blessing to be able to hold this year’s APRSAF-27 including the working group sessions, under the theme of "Expand Space Innovation through Diverse Partnerships."
Despite the ongoing pandemic, space players in the Asia-Pacific region are continuing to engage in their international cooperation activities on the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo" aboard the International Space Station (ISS). In addition, they are continuing their efforts to further utilize space technology in the new post-COVID-19 world, which is encouraging, giving confidence for the bright future of the region.
At the APRSAF-26 held in 2019, the “Nagoya Vision,” outlining the direction of APRSAF’s future initiatives over the next ten years while looking ahead to the next quarter century, was adopted, and four major goals were identified. In the ensuing two years, major developments in global space activities have been observed, such as the launch of commercial space flights and new services, and the initiation of full-scale space exploration activities, including lunar exploration. The IPCC has also reported that it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans, and land.
In this context, the four major goals set forth in the "Nagoya Vision" remain relevant, and APRSAF reaffirmed the importance of continuing to work together in the region to achieve these goals.
APRSAF-27 launched activities under a new working group structure that has been reorganized to incorporate new areas of interest and to expand the scope of activities. APRSAF welcomed the progress being made in each of the following areas toward the realization of the vision and the direction of further efforts.
(1) Promoting solutions for a broad range of social issues on the ground
APRSAF welcomed the promotion of SAFE EVOLUTION, which is a multilateral initiative to utilize satellite data for climate change adaptation, and the effective utilization of the results in ASEAN countries. With regard to Sentinel Asia, APRSAF acknowledged the promotion of self-sustaining multilateral cooperation to contribute to international frameworks and has started to study the possibility of integrated utilization of information obtained from earth observation and positioning satellites. It was also confirmed that, through further utilization of space technology, APRSAF will continue to contribute to the resolution of various social issues such as natural disasters, climate change, food security, water resource management, urban problems, and other emerging global phenomena which is having a profound impact on socio-economic, as well as the achievement of the SDGs. It is also recognized that the APRSAF will build and strengthen cooperation among space agencies, user organizations, and development assistance organizations to realize sustainable activities in harmony with the environment.
(2) Enhancing human resources development, capacity building and sciencetechnology capability
APRSAF has encouraged many young researchers, engineers, and youths to participate in the activities of the Kibo-ABC initiative such as Kibo Robot Programming Challenge and Asian Herb in Space, contributing to human resource development in the region. Recognizing the increase in the use of “Kibo” and the growing expectations for its use in the region, APRSAF expressed the hope that the use of “Kibo” will continue to contribute to the development of science and technology and the achievement of the SDGs, while maximizing the appeal of the ISS where humans have continuously been staying. It is also confirmed that APRSAF will continue to exchange information on international space exploration activities that will contribute to the development of the region.
It was confirmed that educational programs and teaching tools using space as a material to stimulate young people's intellectual curiosity are effective if they can be easily developed in local communities using accessible materials, and APRSAF welcomed the promotion of a wide range of space education activities, including practical education at universities and other higher education institutions.
Furthermore, recognizing the role of APRSAF as a forum for information sharing to develop space technology capabilities in the entire region, APRSAF welcomed the idea of engaging in information exchange and discussion on Systems Engineering/Project Management (SE/PM) and Safety and Mission Assurance (S&MA) methods in addition to new trends in technology in order to ensure that APRSAF's activities are sustainable in the future. They also endorsed the continuation of short- and long-term human resource development initiatives in cooperation with development aid agencies and other organizations, aiming to foster the talent with advanced knowledge who are expected to play a leading role in each country in the future.
(3) Advancing capabilities in policy implementation on common issues in the region
APRSAF welcomed the achievements of the National Space Legislation Initiative (NSLI), which has contributed to the enhancement of regional space policy and law capacity and the international presence of the region in the field of space policy and law, and looks forward to its further accomplishments in the second phase launched from APRSAF-27. APRSAF also reaffirmed the importance of information exchange and discussions among space policy and law practitioners and experts in order to contribute to the enhancement of countries' ability to implement policies addressing common regional issues, and expressed their hope that the newly established Space Policy and Law Working Group will function as a standing platform for the community. In addition, as the number of players participating in space-related activities is expected to increase, APRSAF acknowledged the need for government policies to promote space industry and agreed to continue to discuss, as a region, global policy issues, such as the longterm sustainability of space activities and responses to climate change, aiming to contribute to global discussions on international norms and rules.
(4) Encouraging participation by new players in our region and advance diverse linkages
It was acknowledged that APRSAF welcomes the participation of new players, while embracing changes in space-related activities in the region. In order for APRSAF to function as a forum where experiences can be shared and diverse collaborations can be created, they also recognized the need for space business expansion, public-private partnerships as an engine for sustainable development of space activities, which can be discussed at Space Industry Workshops organized in addition to other related sessions in the Plenary Session.
APRSAF-27 was concluded by acknowledging that space activities have continued and progressed even in the face of global hardship, and that APRSAF will work together with diverse players to contribute to the socio-economic development of the Asia-Pacific region through space innovation.
APRSAF-28 will be held in 2022 in Vietnam.