The Space4Water Portal is a joint effort of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW).
The vison of the portal is to enable all stakeholders involved in the space and water communities to access data and knowledge, to be creative and to realize their full potential in contributing to a world in which the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all has become a reality.
The portal will bring together organizations active in the field to share information on projects, initiatives, satellite missions, software, community portals, capacity building & training material, conferences, workshops, data, as well as news and publications in the sector. The information will be categorized and shared publicly in a user-friendly format.
The Space4Water Portal shall serve as:
- a platform for interdisciplinary knowledge exchange on space solutions and technologies for water-related topics
- an initiative to make information in the field discoverable and filterable
- a multi-stakeholder platform
- a capacity building platform
- a portal for expert communities sharing information on software, applications, publications, projects and initiatives
- a portal which is inclusive for actors from developing countries.
Goals and Objectives:
Water is crucial for life and for the achievement of the most recent global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Drinking water is a scarce resource, and freshwater scarcity continues to grow and post a challenge to growing populations around the World, often leading to conflict and other economic impact.
Space technologies and space-based solutions can benefit water management overall, can help monitor sustainable development goals and indicators directly or indirectly related to water, and can facilitate improved water use and water resource sharing internationally, and can assist in related disaster management and crisis response activities as well. The benefits of such technologies have been often proved in the past, and both UNOOSA and PSIPW have organized conferences and events to share best practices and success stories on these over the last decades.
It is key therefore that such benefits and solutions are brought together in a focused manner and awareness of their existence is further raised, through such knowledge dissemination initiatives as this Portal aims for.
Effective water mangement can help us concretely achieve several SDGs (3, 6, 7, 11, 14, 15, 17).
The Space for Water project is part of the efforts by UNOOSA and PSIPW to promote space as a tool to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This project specifically addresses Goal 6 “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” and Goal 17 “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”.
The portal can be accessed at: http://www.space4water.org/.
The portal was originally commissioned as one of the resolutions published at the United Nations 1st International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management which was held in Riyadh in 2008 and co-organized by UN-OOSA, UNESCO, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW), and the King Abdulaziz Center for Science & Technology (KACST).
In 2016, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on their common goal of promoting the use of space-based technology for increased access to water.
The formal agreement came after many years of ongoing collaboration between the two entities, collaboration that started in 2008 with the first collaborative project to jointly establish a water information portal (pictured to the right).
UNOOSA and PSIPW also co-organize a series of international conferences addressing use of space technologies in water management, with four such events successfully taing place since 2008. The first conference was hosted in Saudi Arabia, the second in Argentina, the third in 2014 took place in Morocco, and the most recent one was hosted in Pakistan in early 2018.
Partnerships with other actors in the space and water management fields are considered an integral element of the Space for Water Portal initiative to foster the interoperability and sharing of resources. The portal shall be inclusive especially for actors from developing countries, and capacity building will be one of the initiative’s main focuses.