Bahrain to Host 6th International Space Forum: A New Chapter for Space Exploration in the MENA Region

A grand space forum event held in Bahrain, showcasing a sophisticated venue with banners indicating the 6th International Space Forum. The scene included

Manama, July 3 (BNA): Mohammed bin Thamer Al Kaabi, Minister of Transport and Communications and Chairman of the National Space Science Agency (NSSA), underscored the significance of Bahrain hosting the 6th International Space Forum at Ministerial Level – The Gulf Chapter (ISF 2024). This landmark event, held for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, is supported by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the Italian Space Agency (ISA). The forum will focus on the future of space exploration.

Minister Al Kaabi highlighted the strides made by the Arab Gulf region and the broader Arab world in advancing space science. He emphasized NSSA’s collaboration with international partners to foster a platform that promotes innovation, knowledge exchange, and partnerships in space exploration, diplomacy, and economic development. He also reiterated Bahrain’s commitment to space exploration through NSSA’s strategic plan, aiming to position the Kingdom as a regional and global hub for space conferences and dialogues.

The theme of ISF 2024, “Space as a Game-Changer for Diplomacy and Economic Development in the Region,” underscores the transformative power of space technology in providing smart, efficient services benefiting society and decision-makers.

Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), praised Bahrain’s hosting of ISF 2024. He noted that the forum’s timing aligns with the rapid development and growing interest in the space sector within the GCC countries. Albudaiwi emphasized the importance of topics such as Earth observation, space exploration, and harmonizing space policies, which are critical for regional advancement. He expressed hope that the forum’s outcomes would encourage greater investment in space science, applications, services, and human capital.

Albudaiwi highlighted the rapid growth of the space sector, which contributes significantly to improving lives through services like environmental monitoring, climate change tracking, GPS, and support for health, energy, agriculture, and industry. He noted that global investments in space exploration have reached approximately $272 billion since 2013. The GCC space economy, valued at over $10 billion, aims to increase investments to achieve ambitious national plans. He also highlighted notable achievements, such as the UAE’s Hope Probe, Bahrain’s carbon emissions project with the UK, Saudi Arabia’s ISS missions with NASA, Oman’s scientific launchpad, Qatar’s climate satellite project with NASA, and Kuwait’s participation in the SMAP satellite project.

Professor Teodoro Valente, President of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), commended Bahrain as the ideal venue for discussing space topics focused on stability, security, development, diversity, and national identity. He emphasized the great potential of the emerging space sector in the Arabian Gulf region and the importance of collaboration between emerging and established space powers for sustainable development.

Eugene Clayton Mowry, President of the IAF, expressed appreciation for NSSA’s efforts in hosting the forum. Since joining the IAF in 2021, NSSA has shown remarkable participation in IAF initiatives. Mowry highlighted the forum’s role in providing a unique platform for decision-makers to address regional needs and enhance space-related capabilities and potential, paving the way for fruitful international cooperation in the space sector.

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