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N° 41–1995: Space agency forum (SAF) 3

6 October 1995

The third meeting of the Space Agency Forum (SAF) was held in Oslo, Norway on 2 October 1995 on the occasion of the 46th Congress of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). The meeting was organised and chaired by the European Space Agency (ESA).

SAF was created as a follow-up from the 1992 International Space Year, and brings together the heads of some 30 space agencies from around the world and representatives from international space organisations to discuss space issues of common interest. The first two meetings of SAF were hosted by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) in April 1993 and by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in November 1993.

The main debate during SAF 3 in Oslo focused on the future role of SAF. Based on proposals by the German space agency DARA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and supported by other delegates, it was agreed that:

. SAF should continue as a useful forum for the exchange of information and views.

. SAF should mainly be an informal gathering of the space agency heads, allowing them to discuss freely current issues and challenges of future space activities.

. SAF meetings should be organised in conjunction with the annual IAF congress since it was not realistic to assume that space agency heads would be able to meet twice per year, once for SAF and once for the IAF congress. In this context, many representatives stressed that SAF should keep its autonomy.

The organisational aspects related to SAF meetings, such as responsibility for the secretariat, could not be settled definitively. It was felt, however, that some linkage between the host organisation responsible for the preparation of the IAF congress and the agency managing the SAF secretariat, would be beneficial. This will have to be refined in further consultations.

During the forum, delegates also heard a report by the focus group on the SAF Award, as well as short overviews on the activities of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the Inter-Agency Consultative Group (IACG) and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). Furthermore, reports on the role of space for the implementation of Agenda 21 and activities concerning remote sensing in the tropics were provided to delegations.

The International Space University (ISU) and the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) were admitted as new members.