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Beginning in 2016, the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) and the Secure World Foundation have convened annual panel discussions on “Space Weather as a Global Challenge.” The meetings provide an opportunity for other countries to learn more about the purpose and goals of the National Space Weather Strategy and accompanying Action Plan; ensure that policymakers in and leaders of partner nations recognize space weather as a global challenge; and facilitate the sustained, coordinated participation of partner nations in relevant international space weather initiatives.

2017 Space Weather as a Global Challenge Dialogue

On May 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of State, Embassy of Italy, and Secure World Foundation co-organized the second “Space Weather as a Global Challenge” dialogue. Hosted by the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC, the event highlighted the importance of addressing the threats of space weather and provided updates on progress made toward implementing the U.S. National Space Weather Strategy & Action Plan and advances in addressing the threat of space weather in Italy, Europe, and beyond.

The dialogue highlighted the economic, safety, health, and national security implications of space weather events, as well as the steps the international community is taking to mitigate the threat of a severe event. Space weather refers to the environmental conditions in Earth’s magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere caused by solar and cosmic radiation. Speakers emphasized the threat that severe space weather events pose to global satellite operations, telecommunications, and electrical power grids. Noting modern society’s increasing reliance on interdependent communications infrastructure, participants stressed the importance of international cooperation in monitoring and preparing for hazardous solar activity and applauded the selection of space weather as a thematic priority for UNISPACE+50, a special segment of the 61st session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) taking place in July 2018.

The dialogue was opened with welcome remarks from H.E. Armando Varricchio, Ambassador of Italy to the United States of America, Prof. Roberto Battiston, President of Italian Space Agency, and Dr. Jonathan Margolis, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Space, and Health at the U.S. Department of State. The Italian delegation included representatives of the Italian Space Agency, National Institute for Astrophysics, National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, and Italian Air Force, while the U.S. delegation included officials from the Department of State, NASA, National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Air Force. Other speakers included representatives of government, research, and private sector organizations from the U.S., Italy, Germany, Japan, and Russia.

Detailed information about the agenda and speakers can be found at .


U.S. Department of State

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