Paris, January 17, 2002 – As part of the efforts dispatched to assist rescue teams dealing with the most severe disasters, space agency members of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters have launched today an innovative Website at the Charter Evaluation Workshop in Paris.

The address of the Website is:

“This Website is an important step forward in the way we provide rescue and civil defence authorities with the information they need to help teams on the ground when time is critical,” said Jean-Luc Bessis on behalf of the International Charter’s Executive Secretariat.

“As host of this Website, we are proud to contribute to this collective and international action,” said Surendra Parashar, Director of Satellite Operations at the Canadian Space Agency and International Charter Board representative. “It will enable all satellite planners to accelerate the immediate tasking of space-based resources including CNES’ SPOT, ESA’s ERS, Canada’s RADARSAT-1, and soon from Indian and US satellites to acquire new images to assist humanity.”

This means that requestors based in areas where major disasters strike will be better prepared when sending their request to the on duty operator via authorized users. The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters? Website provides guidelines concerning the procedures for the request and delivery of data.

All information pertaining to rescue and civil defence bodies will be available at the click of a mouse including updates in procedures, disasters covered and pertinent links to non-governmental organizations, civil protection agencies, international organizations involved in disaster mitigation and humanitarian assistance, and individual partner agencies.

The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters is the expression of a collective resolve to put space technology at the service of rescue authorities in the event of a major disaster. Its current members are the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the French space agency (CNES), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This Charter was set up in the framework of the UNISPACE III conference of the United Nations in 1999 and has been in force since November 1, 2000. Among its most significant operations, assistance was provided to rescue organisations following a series of earthquakes in El Salvador in January and February 2001.

About ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) is an international intergovernmental organization whose task is ?to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European states in space research and technology and their space applications?. Canada takes part in some projects under a cooperation agreement.

About the French space agency (CNES?Centre National d?Etudes Spatiales)

As a national space agency, CNES is in charge of conceiving, directing and implementing the French space policy. It is actively engaged in developing the use of space to meet the civil and military needs of public authorities and satisfy the requirements of the scientific community and fostering the development and dissemination of new applications designed to create wealth and employment. CNES also drives space science policy, particularly in the field of Earth sciences.

About the CSA

Established in 1989 and headquartered in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space Program. Through its Space Knowledge, Applications and Industry Development business line, the CSA delivers services involving: Earth and the Environment; Space Science; Human Presence in Space; Satellite Communications; Generic Space Technologies; Space Qualification Services and Comptrollership and Awareness. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

About ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) under the Department of Space, Government of India, is responsible for the implementation of the Indian space program involving the development and operations of the satellite, launch vehicles and ground systems, for carrying out research and applications related to communications, remote sensing, meteorology, space sciences, etc.

About NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was established in 1970, under the U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA provides and ensures timely access to global environmental data and information services from satellites and other sources to promote, protect, and enhance the Nation?s economy, security, environment, and quality of life.

For information:

Simonetta Cheli
Telephone: + 39 06 94180350

Sandra Laly
Telephone: + 33 1 44 76 77 32

Levin Lauritson
Telephone: +1-301-457-5120

Canadian Space Agency
Monique Billette
Telephone: (450) 926-4370

Indian Space Research Organization
K.V. Venkatachary
Telephone/fax: +91-80 34 15408