Gerard Brachet is co-President of the GLAC Programme Committee

Could you describe what the GLAC consists of and which themes it will cover?

The joint IAF-UNESCO GLAC will review a wide range of stateof-the-art applications in our daily life that space systems have made possible; from car navigation to weather forecasting,precision farming to water resources management, internet access from remote locations to search and rescue, and from coastal environment monitoring to pollution tracking. Hundreds of experts from the world over will gather in Paris to present the progress of space applications and exchange their experience in using satellite-based applications and services for the benefit of human society.

While GLUC, which took place in Beijing in 2010, highlighted the role that China and other space powers play in lunar exploration and GLEX 2012 discussed the future opportunities provided by human and robotic space exploration, what are the objectives and expected outcomes of GLAC, based on applications?

GLAC will focus on applying space technology to exploring andsup porting the development of a very special planet: our own planet Earth, which is host to 7 billion “geonauts”, most of them located in developing countries. Most of the 1000 or so spacecraft that are in operation today, and most of the hundreds of satellites that are preparing to be launched within the next ten years will provide services in telecommunication and broadcasting,navigation and positioning, metrological observations,environment and natural resources monitoring, etc., i.e. they will be devoted to serving human societies worldwide. The GLAC conference will explore how these services are implemented today, how they integrate with terrestrially-based services, what are the technical and legal barriers to accessing these services, and it will identify capacity-building requirements.

How did the idea of establishing this conference in Paris emerge and why was it decided to co-organise it?

The idea for this joint IAF-UNESCO Conference came out of a high level meeting held in July 2011 between Professor. Gretchen Kalonji, Assistant Director General for Natural Sciences of UNESCO, and Professor Berndt Feuerbacher, the then- President of IAF, who were both convinced that the historically close relations between UNESCO and IAF should develop into collaboration around a major event such as an international conference, addressing topics of common interest to UNESCO and IAF. This is how the idea of the Global Space Applications Conference was born.

How do you see the role of developing countries in the development of satellite-based applications over the last 20 years?

Developing countries have played a very strong role in adopting and promoting space-based applications. Here are some examples: Indonesia was the first country to set up a domestic satellite telecommunications network in the 1970s , Brazil was the first developing nation to establish a Landsat receiving station and developed its own expertise in using satellite remote sensing data for environment monitoring in the early 1980s.India is another excellent example, with the early deployment of a satellite telecommunication network for tele-education and tele-health services in remote locations, and the development from the late 1980s of a very active domestic remote sensing satellite programme.

What are the main ways in which satellite-based applications can serve sustainable development?

Satellite-based applications are very varied and contribute directly to sustainable development: Satellite telecommunication and broadcasting are the most energy-efficient means by which to disseminate information on a large scale. Satellite-based navigation and positioning allows optimum route planning for ships and aircraft, and helps minimize energy consumption of fleets of heavy vehicles. Meteorological satellites contribute to more accurate forecasting of weather patterns and contribute in a major way to climate research. Satellite remote sensing helps manage natural resources, water bodies, coastline and forests. Thousands of satellite-based services have developed over the years, and most of them contribute to a more sustainable world.