Benefits of space for all citizens
Report with thanks to ESA
OVER 40 nations and around 20 international organisations, including ESA, have come together in Brussels for two days, today and tomorrow, to exchange views on policies related to international cooperation in space.
Entitled 'Winning through cooperation: sharing the benefits of space', the conference provides a forum for discussion between States capable of providing space technology, the supply side, and those willing to make use of it - the demand side. The conference was jointly organised by the European Commission and ESA in response to a perceived need to set up a platform for dialogue between the two sides.
The conference is also being attended by a strong contingent of representatives of the European space industry, which has become a key player on worldwide commercial markets in satellite manufacture, launch services and satellite operations.
Attending the conference, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain stated:-
"The successful launch of Ariane 5 a few days ago (Saturday 12 February) brought us 'back to the future', boosting Europe's guaranteed access to space. And this outstanding achievement comes only a
month after the discovery of a new world through the spectacular descent of ESA's science probe Huygens onto Titan.
These are just 2 concrete examples of international cooperation: Ariane shows what several European states have been able to accomplish together in 30 years of cooperation within ESA, while Huygens - reaching Titan after a 7-year journey on board NASA's Cassini mothership - can be listed among the flagships of the longstanding ESA/NASA cooperation, which also extends to many more space faring
Since 1975, the year of its foundation, ESA has been developing international cooperation, first within Europe and then beyond the boundaries of Europe. The US, Canada, Russia, Japan, China, India and most space faring countries are our partners, and we are ready to do more with our institutional partners worldwide and European space industry to further explore our Universe, and to better serve the needs of each citizen of the world in Earth Observation, Security, Telecommunications, Satellite Navigation, Meteorology and Space
In recent years ESA has been cooperating increasingly with a new partner, the European Union, through the European Commission. ESA, an independent European agency, is not part of the EU. Some countries that belong to the EU are not members of ESA and vice versa. There are, however, close ties between the two organisations and they share a common aim: to strengthen Europe and benefit its citizens.
Although ESA has had ties with the EU since the EU was formed, these have grown in recent years because of the increasing role of space in strengthening Europe's political and economic role. Recent joint initiatives include the European global navigation system Galileo and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security suite of services, known as GMES. An upcoming initiative concerns satellite-based measures to overcome the digital divide within Europe.
The Commission has been involved in space for many years through its research programmes, but its role has recently been reinforced. Responsibility for space policy and space applications has been transferred from the Research Directorate-General to that for Enterprise and Industry, under the responsibility of Vice-President Günter Verheugen.
"The Commission is currently working on a proposal for a genuine European Space Policy. Reaching for the stars brings very down to earth benefits to our citizens and industry, from radio navigation, communication by satellite or early warning of natural disasters. We need to step up cooperation, on an EU scale level and internationally. Nobody can go it alone. The Commission also wants to substantially increase R&D efforts for space under the new R&D Framework Programme and we are assessing how to combine this with investment in appropriate public-private partnerships"
said Vice-President Verheugen, Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, in charge of competitiveness and space matters.
In November that year the Councils of ESA and the EU met separately to adopt resolutions based on this document. These endorsed the setting up of a cooperative structure to bring together the ESA Executive and the European Commission. As a result, a high-level joint task force was set up to make proposals for the continuing development and implementation of the European Strategy for Space.
An ESA Ministerial Council meeting in November 2001 gave clear directions on the Agency's evolution and policy, and called for a Framework Agreement to formalise cooperation between ESA and the EU.
In January 2003 the Commission and ESA introduced a Green Paper on European Space Policy to look into Europe's strengths and weaknesses in the space sector in order to launch a debate on Europe's space policy with all players, including national and international organisations, the European space industry and its users, and Europe's scientific community and citizens.
In November 2003 the ESA Council adopted the Framework Agreement, previously endorsed by the EU Council in October 2003. This agreement recognises that both parties have specific complementary and mutually reinforcing strengths, and commits them to working together to avoid duplication of effort. It calls for the progressive development of a European space policy to link the demand for services and applications in support of EU policies with the supply, through ESA, of the space systems and infrastructure needed to meet that demand.
Also in November 2003 the Commission published a White Paper on Space. This action plan for implementing an expanded European space policy, drafted together with ESA, includes proposals for joint ESA-EC space activities and takes the Framework Agreement as its basis for implementation.
These agreements prepared the legal basis for cooperation between ESA and the EU, such as EU participation in ESA optional programmes and ESA management of EU space-related activities. ESA and the Commission will now be able to launch and fund joint projects, participate in each other's schemes, create joint management bodies, carry out joint studies, and jointly organise conferences and training of scientists.
In November 2004 the first ever European "Space Council" was held in Brussels. This was a major political milestone for Europe in Space, offering ministers representing the 27 European Union and/or European Space Agency Member States the first opportunity to jointly discuss the development of a coherent overall European space programme.
In the footprints of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, signed in October 2004 and for the first time defining
"space" as a shared competence of the Union, the Space Council acknowledged the importance of space activities to a wide range of European policies.
The European Space Programme, expected to be endorsed by a Space Council session at the end of 2005, will constitute a common platform including all activities and measures to be undertaken by the Commission, ESA and other stakeholders in order to achieve the objectives set by the European Space Policy.
Future cooperation is expected to cover areas such as science and technology, Earth observation, navigation, communications, human spaceflight and launchers. With all the benefits that cooperation brings, ESA is ready to play its role and encourage the increasing use of space to support European policies that improve the lives of its citizens.
NAUTICAL NOVICES WIN RACE TO SET SAIL
A TEACHER, a paramedic and a smoking cessation advisor are to emulate Ellen MacArthur and compete in a round the world yacht race. The nautical novices have won 3 free places offered by Liverpool city council to race in the Clipper 05-06 Round The World Yacht Race.
But unlike MacArthur, none have a day's ocean sailing between them! After a
shortlist of 12, 5 women and 7 men, was selected from the more than 200 applications, the 3 were eventually chosen, after facing an interview panel featuring representatives of Liverpool Culture Company and Clipper Ventures PLC as well as BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Roger Phillips.
The lucky three winners are:- Claire Daley, 24, Garston Secondary school teacher;David Dowling, 33, Old Swan Smoking Cessation Advisor
and Peter Mulcahy, 45, Childwall Paramedic.
They will begin training in April to sail the Liverpool '08 Clipper - a newly created 68-foot yacht - promoting Liverpool as European Capital of Culture, 2008. The 3 will sail 1 leg each of the 7 legged event which visits some of the world's most glamorous places such as South Africa, Western Australia, China and the Caribbean before racing back to Liverpool in summer 2006.
The Liverpool '08 Clipper will be competing in a 10-strong fleet sailing around the world each with international teams of 17 crew and a skipper. The race start on Sunday, September 18 will be one of the highlights of the city's Capital of Culture themed year - Sea Liverpool 2005.
During the year the city will stage more than 1,000 nautical events including the silver jubilee of the Mersey River Festival in June - the UK's biggest free maritime festival. Roger Phillips, Chair of the judging panel, said:-
''The shortlist was of the highest quality and we could have easily picked an extra five to take part in the race.
We chose Claire, David and Peter because we felt the race would be truly life changing for them, that they had the most to gain from the experience and the most to offer back. They are all from different backgrounds and each represent different aspects of what is good about Liverpool people.
All three showed a great desire to share their experiences within their professional lives and to the wider community. All have challenging jobs, which in one way or another inspire people. I'm confident they will be able to powerfully communicate their experiences for the benefit of a huge number of people of all ages.''
The Liverpool city council '08 Clipper competition is part of a pledge to involve people in maritime events during Sea Liverpool 2005.
Councillor Warren Bradley, Executive Member for Leisure and Culture, said:- ''To receive hundreds of applications in just a few months for this competition highlights the great affinity Liverpudlians have for the sea.
'The city council is determined to squeeze every drop out of the amazing opportunities events such as the Clipper Yacht Race present for the people of Liverpool. We want to broaden people's horizons and show that Liverpool's maritime culture can have a huge impact on their own and the city's life.''
As part of the Sea Liverpool 2005 pledge, the council is also supporting a website based educational programme for children to track the progress of the Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, first person to sail solo around the world non-stop and founder of the Clipper Race, said:-
"I'm confident the winners of this competition will be enthusiastic ambassadors and key players in making the Liverpool '08 Clipper campaign a success. I wish them the very best of luck in this exciting adventure.
An around the world race is the ultimate sailing challenge. When these lucky winners return, they will have a sense of achievement which is unique to great sea adventures, which will benefit them and the city for many years to come.''
This year's Capital of Culture theme is part of SeaBritain 2005, a national celebration of Britain's maritime heritage based on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in October.
CONGESTION CHARGING REDUCES ROAD ACCIDENTS
CONGESTION charging in London has its 2nd anniversary this week, and despite initial scepticism about the traffic system, new research from MORE TH>N's Motoring Risk Report reveals the scheme has reduced accidents in the capital by 5%.
The report found that congestion is one of the key emerging risks on the road today and that reducing congestion could save lives. There is a complex relationship between congestion, speed and accidents but recent data shows the high numbers of traffic all squeezing through a fixed amount of road is leading to accidents. The report also revealed that general traffic levels in London are down 15% and congestion is down 30% in the capital, in the year after the scheme was introduced.
The report suggests that if the London 'model' was applied to other major cities within the UK, congestion in these areas could be reduced by as much as 23.5% and accidents by nearly 13%. This comes at a time when some areas of the UK are considering adopting a road toll or congestion charge scheme; the results of the vote on whether to introduce a congestion charge in Edinburgh will be announced on 22 February.
Predicted traffic and accident rate decreases:-
|| Reduction in
David Pitt, Head of Insurance at MORE TH>N, said:- "From our research we can see that the London congestion scheme has had a positive impact in significantly reducing the number of accidents on the road in the charging zone. We've also applied the London model to other areas of the country with interesting results. Our report shows that applying similar measures in other UK cities could reduce traffic by around 23 per cent and accidents by as much as 13 per cent. It's clear that congestion is a major problem and we welcome any measures to help protect motorists from potentially hazardous driving conditions."
THE band is Liverpool's Noumber One Beatles Tribute Band, the Caven Club Resident Band and Official Ambasador for The City Of Culture 2008 and they were giving a free show on Lord Street's Band Stand in Southport on Saturday 5 Febuary. Despite the rain and icy winds, people came out to watch and dance. The free how was to promote the last leg of the bands latest tour. The band has already played at Nottingham, Lancaster, Rhyly, Dumfrie, Catleford and tonight at the Southport Arts centre. If you missed them you still have a chance to see the band at nSt Helen, Theartre Royal on 25 Febuary, March 9 at Buxton Opera House, 11 March at the Albert Hall in Stirling and the closing night at the Liverpool Neptune theatre.