5th International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Resource Management Opens in Accra
10 May 2022
In the wake of deepening global water crisis, leveraging space technology for water resource management will play a key role in water resource management.
“Water related issues remain at the forefront of inequality, poverty and health challenges globally. The implications of unequal access to water and sanitation resources have also strongly manifested themselves during the pandemic. It exposed the vulnerabilities of communities living in more distressed areas, further exacerbating existing gaps and hardships. It is symbolic that the conference is taking place in Sub-Saharan Africa where the needs are dire.”- Niklas Hedman, Acting Director, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) made these remarks at the 5TH International Conference on the use of Space Technology for Water Resource Management (ISTA-WRM) taking place in Accra.
Space technology is playing a growing role in water resource management. From monitoring floods to assessing drought risks, satellite data has become an indispensable tool for meteorologists, hydrologists, and water managers. The 5TH ISTA-WRM is co-jointly organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the Government of Ghana, and the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW). The 4-day conference is to promote the use of space technology in water management to the benefit of developing countries. It is being hosted by the University of Energy and Natural Resources UENR) on behalf of the Government of Ghana.
In his welcome remarks at the high-level opening of the conference, Professor Elvis Asare-Bediako, Vice Chancellor at the UENR, cautioned that the degeneration of our water bodies through human activities such as illegal mining is detrimental to our livelihoods and the lives of our industries. He expressed the urgency to sustainably manage our water resources.
H.E. Ramses Joseph Cleland, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration noted, “with less than a decade to achieve the SDGs, Ghana is pleased to contribute to ambitious global efforts such as hosting this conference, where governments, civil societies, and businesses convene to deliberate and determine how best to forge partnerships and blueprints towards the implementation of these goals.” Stating further, he said, “today, I can confidently say that great progress has been made in the pursuit of our goals, particularly, SDGs 6 and 17 through the use of space science and technology.”
The Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum said there is the need to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to encourage more youth to be involved in science and technology. This, he believes, would encourage more African youth to contribute actively to the promotion of space technology, stating that “the time for Africans to be observers is over.”
The 5th ISTA-WRM aims to promote the application of space technology in water management to help developing countries, in particular those in Sub-Saharan Africa, to harness space-based solutions to address their water-related needs. Experts and practitioners from academia, government, and industry will share cutting-edge space-based solutions for water resources management.