2019 International Space Forum at Ministerial Level
On September 5th, 2019, the Italian Minister of Education, University and Research, the Ministers and Authorities competent for Space in the Mediterranean countries, as well as the representatives and experts of national and international Space Agencies and Organizations met in Reggio Calabria (Italy) under the auspices of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria for the 4th International Space Forum (ISF) 2019 – The Mediterranean Chapter.
Chiara Manfletti, president of Portugal Space, was invited to give a speech which you can download here and watch the video below.
Good morning honourable guests,
It is with great regret that I cannot be there with you this morning to discuss “the Mediterranean
Chapter” as I am currently with students in the hope of convincing them to join our ranks in tackling
global challenges through space activities.
Water is one of our most precious resources, a gift of the universe, whose origin we have not yet
discovered. Our latest effort through the Rosetta mission has taught us that the water on Earth is
not from this one specific comet. The search continues and space is part of the answer.
To preserve, manage and optimise the use of all bodies of water should be one of the highest
priorities of our time.
The economy of these bodies remains greatly unexplored and our scientific knowledge about them
and the ecosystems they host is still far from being exhaustive.
It is for this reason that Portugal has defined as its vision to become by 2030 a widely recognised
global authority in the science and economics of space-oceans-climate interactions for the
advancement and well-being of all humankind. Through the founding of the AIR CENTER and its new
national space agency, Portugal Space, Portugal has clearly indicated its commitment – political and
financial – to this goal through assets in space and on ground and through a multi-disciplinary and
This summer has seen much news around our seas and oceans: from migration, to illegal maritime
activities and piracy, to a 150 km2 area covered with volcanic rock discovered in the middle of the
Pacific, to the landing of Sargasso in Mexico, to the death of marine life due to plastic waste, and
The Mediterranean is one of the busiest bodies of water and a treasure and great responsibility for
all countries that boast a piece of it as a part of their national territory. But water flows and ignores
national boundaries and it would be overly simplistic to define the challenges of the Mediterranean
a problem of those countries alone. It is a joint responsibility and activities should be a common
Beyond and to complement the on-going activities in all countries that are around the table today,
Portugal puts forward the proposal of a joint-effort in observing and monitor our bodies of water
with a joint constellation of small satellites co-owned by different countries and their interested
entities to provide data and services to different end-users. Direct receiving stations in different
participating nations would give each country the autonomy of organising their own institutional
needs and users independent of other partners in this joint endeavour.
I take this opportunity to reach out to you with this proposal in the hope that you will reach back to
us and that we may start on this endeavour before the end of this year.
I wish you a fruitful conference and look forward to a common positive future together.