European Space Agency: The Future Has Already Arrived

Interview with Isabelle Duvaux-Bechon, Acting Head of the Foresight, Strategy and Coordination Department (DG-5), and Head of the Strategy and Development Office (DG-5A)

The UN Brief interviewed Isabelle Duvaux-Bechon, Acting Head of the Foresight, Strategy and Coordination Department (DG-5), and Head of the Strategy and Development Office (DG-5A) to get an overview of the space agency, where it operates in Europe, and what are the opportunities available on each site for staff members, in order for them to develop their full potential.

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We spoke about the current programs underway that use the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework to measure progress in key areas such as gender parity in the sector, and how member states collaborate among themselves and with ESA to fund technology startups in Europe. What that stamp of credibility means when startups go seeking additional funding to scale-up their companies.

We also spoke about the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, which is based in Vienna, Austria, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and its COPUOS Working Group on the Space2030 Agenda.

How is ESA addressing the SDGs since 2015, with work in the areas of water management? Space debris clean-up is an area of concern too, as is cybersecurity.

What we know is that mapping the areas to deliver emergency services using an array of satellites when collaborating with the UN humanitarian agencies is also crucial, and international cooperation in all the above issues is necessary more than ever.


In case you missed…

German Government Finances WHO Tech Hub in Berlin

A generous investment of US$ 100 million from the German government will launch the hub that is to focus on early detection, data analytics, and public health events that can lead to a pandemic. A partnership between country-members with health tech companies, other public health institutions and actors to harness the power of innovation in data science for “public health surveillance and response”. The hub is part of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, and emphasis is on a collaboration among country-members and private sector partners. Tech for good is the mot d’ordre.

Its mission?

“Provide the world with better data, analytics and decisions to detect and respond to health emergencies.”

German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General, inaugurated the new WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, in Berlin.

“The world needs to be able to detect new events with pandemic potential and to monitor disease control measures on a real-time basis to create effective pandemic and epidemic risk management,” said Dr Tedros. “This Hub will be key to that effort, leveraging innovations in data science for public health surveillance and response, and creating systems whereby we can share and expand expertise in this area globally.”

Additional speakers: Jens Spahn, HE German Federal Minister of Health; HE Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin; Michael J Ryan, Executive Director WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

Panelists: Fabiola Gianotti, CERN Director-General; Katalin Karikó, BioNTech Senior Vice President; Sabine Gabrysch, Professor for Climate Change and Health, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin; Chikwe Ihekweazu, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Director-General.

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