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The contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities

This report compares the needs of Arctic stakeholders (as articulated in policies and strategies) with the contribution different types of satellite technologies (communications, weather, navigation, earth observation, surveillance, and science) can make to meet current and future requirements.  It will help the European Space Agency (ESA) understand Arctic issues, increase the synergy between ESA activities and Arctic initiatives, and assist ESA in preparing relevant Arctic related programme proposals to meet future requirements.

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In recent years, the uniqueness of northern regions and their importance to the world, including EU member countries, have been recognized and efforts have been made to develop policies in a cooperative manner across regions and nations. These police are aimed at resolving the specific environmental, economic development and social challenges faced by northern communities. The major areas of interest to both international and national northern policy groups can be categorised under five broad policy areas (i) safety (ii) environment, (iii) sustainable economic development, (iv) sovereignty, and (v) indigenous/social development.

Space satellite systems can be a powerful tool to meet rapidly evolving stakeholder requirements in the northern context. Construction and maintenance of ground infrastructure is difficult due to extreme climatic conditions, low population density and the inaccessibly of the areas of interest. Under these conditions, satellite technology is ideally suited to provide cost-effective and unique opportunities to meet the communication, weather, navigation, observation, surveillance, and scientific needs of those living and working in northern communities in both Europe and North America.