The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) have renewed their long-standing agreement to promote the use of space-based technology for better water resource management. PSIPW is a leading scientific award that focuses on innovation to address water scarcity, offered every two years.
The two organizations have been working together on leveraging space for water resource management since 2008, when PSIPW started participating as an Observer in the Committee for the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). In the same year, UNOOSA and PSIPW jointly organized the first international conference on the use of space technology for water resource management in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which brought together experts from all over the world to exchange know-how. Subsequent conferences were held in Buenos Aires in 2011, Rabat in 2014, and Islamabad in 2018.
In 2016, the two organisations formalized their collaboration, including an agreement to develop the Space4Water Portal, an innovative platform that brings together space and water experts to exchange knowledge, resources, and practices. On the Portal, users share information on projects, satellite missions, software, capacity building and training material, conferences, workshops, and publications.
On 31 December 2020, the partners agreed to extend their successful collaboration for six more years.
The signing ceremony was presided over by UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo and PSIPW Executive Director Eng. Ali-Wafa Abu-Risheh, representing PSIPW General Secretary Dr. Abulmalek A. Al Alshaikh.
UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said: "This is a key step forward in our collaboration. PSIPW and UNOOSA will be able to ensure the long-term sustainability of our common efforts to leverage space for water. One of our main goals will be developing the Space4Water Portal into an even more comprehensive resource for better water resource management through space. Since its launch, the Portal attracted over 25,500 users from 192 countries, who contributed a wealth of resources, best practices and tools. Achieving a water-secure world is a fundamental challenge for our future: we need effective partnerships such as this one to tackle it during this Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals. The role of space-based data and infrastructure is key for rebuilding our future after challenging times, such as the pandemic we are experiencing. I believe PSIPW and this agreement are role models of cooperation in the quest for building a better future for all."
PSIPW General Secretary Abdulmalek A. Al Alshaikh said: "Water scarcity is a major global challenge. Innovative scientific solutions are needed to help solve the water crisis, and space technology applications provide powerful tools for effective water resources management. Research and further development of these pioneering technologies must be encouraged and supported worldwide. UNOOSA and PSIPW have been very successful in pursuing this goal together for the past twelve years, and this new agreement will bring our partnership to the next level."