Matosinhos Manifesto approved at ESA Ministerial Summit
Document foresees accelerating the use of space to support Europe and European citizens
Ministers responsible for the space sector from all countries represented in the European Space Agency (ESA) unanimously approved the Matosinhos Manifesto during the ESA Ministerial Summit held this Friday at CEiiA, in Matosinhos
The document envisions accelerating the use of space in order to create solutions that meet social, economic, and security challenges facing Europe and its citizens.
Manuel Heitor, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, who also chaired the Ministerial Summit, said that all European countries must confront these issues: “the sheer scale of nature and the accelerating pace of the climate crisis and other challenges mean that no European nation will be able to tackle them effectively alone. Space has enormous untapped potential to help address these challenges and acceleration in the development of European space capability is now urgently needed.“
During the summit Ricardo Conde, the President of the Portuguese Space Agency – Portugal Space, assured the assembly that “the Matosinhos Manifesto underlines something that Portugal Space has been defending since the beginning: if space is the place where we project our collective ambitions, we cannot deny that these ambitions involve solving the problems that compromise life on our planet more and more each day.”
He added: “to get around [such problems] we need cooperation, a joint effort. And, of course, to look at space and space solutions as integral parts of everyday life, in a sustainable way, both environmentally and economically.”
For ESA’s Director General, Josef Aschbacher, “this summit recognized the need for a renewed European ambition in space by unanimously endorsing the three “accelerators” and two “inspirers” that will put Europe at the forefront of the full use of space by its citizens, creating economic opportunities. This gives ESA a clear mandate on the way to the European Space Summit.” Aschbacher also recalled that it is in space that “the intensifying global competition for technological innovation, economic leadership and European autonomy will take place.”
Three “accelerators,” two “inspirers”
The ESA Ministerial Summit has identified three “accelerators” for the objectives defined by Europe for the space sector:
- “Space for a Green Future,” which aims to assist European citizens in creating scenarios and solutions for sustainable life on Earth through a “digital twin” of the planet, developed by ESA;
- “Rapid and Resilient Crisis Response” which aims to support European countries in responding to natural disasters and phenomena, from floods to forest fires, without prejudice to the sovereign powers of the Member States and the European Union;
- “Protection of Space Assets” aims to safeguard European assets from space debris and space weather interference.
The ministers also identified two inspiring goals – that is, the inspirations or “inspirers” – to strengthen Europe’s scientific and technological leadership: an icy moon sample recovery mission and human space exploration.
The “accelerators” and “inspirers” result from work carried out in recent months based on recommendations from the High Level Advisory Group to ESA Director General Josef Aschbarcher. They are included in the “Final Report on Accelerating the Use of Space in Europe” that is part of the European Space Agency’s “Agenda 2025”.
The Ministerial Summit was an important step on the path to the European Space Summit, scheduled for February 2022 in Toulouse, France, before the next ESA Council Meeting at the ministerial level.