A high-level workshop on “Satellite-based Services for Disaster Risk Management”, took place on Wednesday in Nicosia under the auspices of Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Philippos Hadjizacharias.

The event, that aimed to highlight the potential of satellite applications in the field of disaster risk management, was attended online by people from twelve different countries, such as the USA, Israel, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Bulgaria, Algeria and Nepal, while more than 100 scientists, academics and researchers and heads of institutions of policy making as well as representatives of the wider Cyprus space ecosystem, participated in Nicosia.

The event was co-organised by the Department of Electronic Communications of the Ministry of Research, with the European Union Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA) and the international organization Eurisy.

According to an official press release, it is the first time that a high-level meeting is organised in Cyprus on this subject, with the participation of the Deputy Minister of Research, Director of the Directorate General for Defense Industry and Space (DG DEFIS) of the European Commission, Timo Pesonen, Executive Director of EUSPA Rodrigo da Costa as well as President of the international organization Eurisy, Dominique Tilmans.

Delegates had the opportunity to share views and experiences and to discuss ways of using satellite technologies in the management of emergency situations arising from natural disasters, focusing on the further exploitation of the European Copernicus, Galileo and GOVSATCOM programs.

In his speech, that was read on by Director of the Department of Electronic Communications, George Komodromos, the Deputy Minister of Research, stressed that investing in Space means investing in the future and noted that space economy is one of the fastest growing sectors and, according to the Space Foundation, space activity is expected to grow to US$ 634 billion by 2026 from US$175 billion in 2005 and eventually become the first economy that will reach the 1 trillion US$.

“In this new reality, Cyprus, although small in size, aims to be part of the space revolution, scaling up activities, advancing shared goals and paving the way for a sustainable and resilient future,” he said.

Major developments in satellite infrastructure in Cyprus also include a receiving earth station, part of the Search and Rescue service of the EU Galileo System, for detecting and locating emergency beacons.

“It is worth mentioning that Cyprus is one of the only three hosting countries of such infrastructure in Europe. We are also working towards the establishment of an Optical Gateway, critical for connecting Cyprus to the rest of the European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (QCI) network” he pointed out.

EUSPA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa said that the EU Space Program continues to provide tangible benefits to the citizens of the EU and the world” and expressed his satisfaction that Cyprus embraces its use and supports its evolution.

President of Eurisy Dominique Tilmans, said that the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is based on satellite mapping from the European Copernicus Programme, which provides timely and accurate geospatial information for planning disaster relief operations throughout Europe and abroad.

Meanwhile, a search and rescue drill was conducted at sea using space technologies and services of the EU space programs Galileo and Copernicus under the coordination of the Search and Rescue Coordination Center in Larnaca. The exercise was conducted within the framework of the Multinational Civil-Military Cooperation Exercise “ARGONAUTIS – 2023” with the participation of a large number of government services as well as human resources and aeronautical means of foreign countries.

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