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PHL space agency joins global climate observatory initiative

THE Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) signed the Space for Climate Observatory (SCO) Charter on Nov. 28, 2022, making it the climate resilience initiative’s National Focal Point of the Philippines.

As the Focal Point, it is designated to take part in Steering Committee meetings to make decisions on SCO programs and functions.

“Our membership to the SCO is an opportunity for the Philippines to work with international space agencies, climate resilience organizations, and the private sector, in data and information sharing to make the best use of space data to bring operational tools for climate action,” said PhilSA Director General Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. in a Jan. 3 statement.

Mr. Marciano said the global cooperation improves the capacities of its members, as well as vulnerable communities, in monitoring and addressing climate change and its impacts.

PhilSA is working on establishing the SCO Philippines, a national implementation that would engage public and private entities operating in the field of climate action.

“We encourage national government agencies and non-profit organizations in the Philippines to participate in this worldwide initiative through PhilSA,” Mr. Marciano added.

Being a SCO signatory supports the agency’s key development area on Hazard Management and Climate Studies.

The SCO was set up as an international network to support the emergence of operational applications to promote climate resilience.

It was launched in June 2019 when 23 space agencies and international organizations signed a declaration of interest. The idea behind it, however, dates back to 2017 during the One Planet Summit, which vision was to offer a “new, pragmatic, and effective framework for action, one that will contribute to broadening and renewing international cooperation for the ecological transition.”

PhilSA also has cooperation agreements with the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

Other countries that joined the French-led SCO in 2022 include the US through its lead agency the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the United Arab Emirates through UAESA.

The Philippines is the third most vulnerable country to climate change. The Asian Development Bank has said the country stands to lose 6% of its gross domestic product per year by 2100 if it disregards climate change risks. — Patricia B. Mirasol

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