On Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 February, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe made an official visit to the United Arab Emirates on the occasion of the World Government Summit.
During his visit, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Chairman of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA), signed an agreement to develop a joint hyperspectral imaging satellite to support efforts to tackle climate change.
The agreement, signed in the presence of Mr Philippe and His Excellency Mohammed Bin Rachid Al Maktoum, United Arab Emirates Vice President and Prime Minister and Emir of Dubai, is the first concrete result of the agreement signed on 9 November 2017 during President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the United Arab Emirates, which committed CNES and UAESA to:
-- Supporting the proposal to create a Space Climate Observatory (SCO) through the Paris Declaration adopted at the One Planet Summit in Paris on 12 December 2017.
-- Deepening the cooperation on Earth observation between the two nations to increase the role of space missions in tackling climate change.
-- Encouraging closer exchanges between CNES and UAESA teams to consolidate the results of climate change research from both sides.
France and the United Arab Emirates are very active in promoting international cooperation on space for climate, in particular through the Mexico, New Delhi and Marrakesh Declarations and through their support for the decisions taken at the One Planet Summit, among them the creation of the SCO.
After the signature, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “This new agreement between CNES and UAESA reaffirms our two nations’ desire to move forward together in space. France is a key space player and the United Arab Emirates is among the new space powers now developing new programmes and missions. Today’s signature marks the start of this joint hyperspectral Earth-imaging mission. Our teams will be meeting in a month’s time in Toulouse to work on defining and planning the programme, and we will be conducting a first progress review at the start of May in Abu Dhabi during the Global Space Congress.”