9 June 2021, New York, USA - The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a historic resolution for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and in particular for its Operational Satellite Applications Programme - UNOSAT.
On the occasion of its 75th Session, the Economic and Social Council, one of the six main organs of the United Nations, approved resolution E/2021/L.22 on UNITAR as facilitated by Guatemala. Following the recommendation by the UN Secretary General in his report to the Council, this resolution recognizes UNOSAT as the United Nations Satellite Centre.
This decision provides UNOSAT “with a mandate to provide United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies with satellite analysis, training and capacity development, at their request, as well as to continue supporting Member States with satellite imagery analysis over their respective territories and to provide training and capacity development in the use of geospatial information technologies, on the basis of voluntary contributions”.
”This decision by the Council formally recognizes 20 years of work supporting UN agencies and Member States with geospatial analysis in their efforts to achieve the SDGs. We are delighted by this decision that encourages us to pursue our goal of making satellite analysis and capacity development available to Member States, thereby promoting the practical applications of space technology” said Einar Bjørgo, UNOSAT’s Director. The resolution also encourages UNITAR to continue developing training programmes on the use of Geospatial Technologies and knowledge derived from satellite imagery in support of evidence-based decision-making, notably in the field of disaster risk reduction.
The resolution is composed of several other clauses. For example, it acknowledges the alignment of UNITAR’s strategy with the 2030 Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals and welcomes the flexibility and innovation demonstrated by UNITAR in the delivery of its services during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“[I would like] to express the Institute’s gratitude to the Member States for their continuing support […]. As we individually and collectively turn to building back better from the pandemic and getting the SDGs back on track, UNITAR looks forward to working with Member States on the implementation of the resolution.” Nikhil Seth, Executive Director, UNITAR