Agenda Item 9: Space and Sustainable Development
As prepared for delivery by Alternate U.S. Representative Kevin Conole
Vienna, Austria, June 6, 2022
Mr. Chair, the United States appreciates the opportunity to highlight the fundamental relationship between student engagement and sustainable development and is leading efforts to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (or “STEM”). In addition to its unique space missions, research, and innovations, NASA is expanding STEM awareness and learning by actively engaging students, educators, and the public in STEM activities, with a special focus on underrepresented student communities, and by developing a wide number of STEM educational resources, which are online, free, and instantly available for anyone to use.
Within NASA, the Office of STEM Engagement leads the work to provide student learning opportunities and experiential work assignments throughout the year, by offering NASA internships, fellowships, and student challenges and competitions. Foreign students can often join U.S. students in participating in these activities. NASA also gives direct support to colleges and universities to strengthen their research and development capacity and enables faculty and educators to meet and access NASA’s science and technology personnel and facilities. The development of NASA-unique Internet resources for students, educators, and the public at large rounds out NASA’s approach to STEM Engagement.
Many of the resources and opportunities can found in our statement that will be posted online.
The United States would also take the moment to underscore the view that space science and technology applications are essential to addressing current and future challenges and realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. It is only through continued and purposeful international collaboration that we can leverage our shared strengths to fully realize the potential impact Earth Observations can have in our work. Satellite Earth Observations deliver a unique view of our world and provide substantial amounts of data that facilitate new methods and insights into the Sustainable Development Goals and their Indicators.
To advocate and realize these contributions, the United States works with established international forums such as the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) which launched a dedicated Initiative, Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG), in 2016. The United States, through NASA, NOAA, and USGS work to employ Earth Observations in smart practices and solutions on the use of this data in planning, tracking, and reporting.
The United States’ work utilizing Earth Observations for this goal is further enhanced by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, whose purpose is to ensure international coordination of civil space-based Earth Observation programs. This Committee, alongside the Group on Earth Observations, jointly authored the report “Earth Observations in Support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, which highlights the potential role of Earth observations in supporting the global Indicator framework. The United States believes that a successful sustainable development agenda will require effective partnerships, such as these, for implementation.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.