Paras Ali

THE TREMENDOUS developments in space sector have enabled mankind to probe deeper into space and helped in developing better understanding of the universe. Pakistan has been utilising the applications of space science and technology in various fields.

“The approval of Pakistans Space Vision 2040 has placed the country among the space faring nations,” said Chairman SUPARCO, Maj Gen (Retd) Ahmed Bilal while addressing the three-day National Space Conference held here in the federal capital.

The conference was organized by Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO). Senator Sughra Imam, Advisor Policy Research Wing was the chief guest of the ceremony.

The Chairman SUPARCO said that the conference has been organised with the objective to exchange ideas and work undertaken by various national and international experts.

He further said that Pakistan has embarked on an ambitious plan for achieving self-reliance in space science, technology and applications through cooperation and collaboration with other – faring nations. He appreciated that a large number of government departments are availing SUPARCOs services and thus paving the way for sustainable national development.

Eminent experts from Egypt, Nigeria, Ukraine, Canada, Malaysia, WHO, Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization, United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) and many more attended the event.

Presiding over the ceremony, Sughra Imam read out Presidents message. She quoted, “The government encourages all national agencies to use advanced technologies, and in particular space technology and applications, for improving efficiency, enhancing transparency and reducing cost in their day to day work.”

SUPARCO has played its part well and has made significant contributions to the socio economic development of Pakistan. In recent years, data and services available from space-based assets as well as ICTs have been used most effectively in the field of agriculture, water resource management, land use mapping and disaster management.

A number of sessions were also held during the conference. The first session focused on “National Space Programs – Pakistan and other developing countries” in which the Chairman SUPARCO briefed about the Pakistans national space programme.

Speakers from National Space Research and Development Agency (NASDRA) Nigeria, National Authority for Remote Sensingand Space Sciences (NARSS) Egypt, and Embassy of Ukraine in Pakistan, presented national space programmes of Nigeria, Egypt and Ukarine respectively.

The other sessions of the conference focused on the “Space Technology Applications – Tele – Health applications in which the representative from WHO briefed the role of WHO in promoting space technology for health and tele-health initiatives around the world.

The concluding session focused on the need to support space education activities to enrich youth development and to take a leading role in activities on space education and awareness including educators training and development.

Aisha Jagirani from SUPARCO highlighted the Space Education and Awareness activities in Pakistan, and Javaid Younas, Virtual University gave a briefing on Tele-educaton initiatives in Pakistan.

On the occasion, scientist from SUPARCO presented a paper on “Dengue Surveillance using Spatial Technology”. An overview of the “Tele-health initiatives and activities in Pakistan” was presented by the Director, Telemedicine and e-health training center, Holy Family hospital Pakistan.

Presiding over the concluding ceremony, the chief guest, Federal Minister for Defence, Syed Naveed Qamar, said that with the advancements in satellite-enabled services and space technology-related innovations, there is a greater need for investment in space technology and applications. Cooperation and joint ventures among countries is becoming more imperative.

The conference highlighted the significance of international cooperation between developing countries for having effective space programmes.

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