The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Kingdom have signed an agreement to address the information gap for space-related climate actions. The scientific community and the United Nations (UN) system have long recognized and utilized space-based technologies, data and applications as essential components in climate change research, monitoring, and policy enactment. However, a comprehensive overview of the broad spectrum of current and planned activities in using space for climate action has been missing.

Through this new partnership, the UN and the United Kingdom strive to address this information gap and build synergies, facilitate coherence and contribute to avoiding duplication of existing efforts. With a Strategic Mapping Exercise, the core of the mutual work, the two parties are going to review existing activities at the international and regional levels, in the UN system, for non-UN groups, partnerships, organizations and other relevant entities.

As underscored by global leaders at the COP26 in Glasgow, addressing the climate crisis demands a holistic and collaborative approach using resources, tools, and technologies at full speed. The outcome report can help policymakers, international or regional organizations, industry, academia, experts, and civil society gain a better understanding of existing technical, policy and coordination efforts. It can also inform their strategy development or research and bring policy coherence across the multilateral system. 

UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo underscored the importance of this partnership: “We can only advance the use of space for climate action with the wisdom of replicable solutions, working with opportunities and gaps, and with an understanding of the needs of stakeholders and communities. We are thrilled to engage with the UK Government to provide a unique, state-of-the-art overview of where we are, where we need to go, and how we can get there, together.”

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “As we saw at COP26 in Glasgow, satellites are being used every day to measure carbon emissions, track deforestation and improve climate models that inform international action. This new project with UNOOSA will map this existing work and investigate what more can be done to strengthen the space sector’s contribution to tackling our planet’s biggest global challenge.”