United Nations Basic Space Science Initiative (UNBSSI) 1991-2012

The UBSSI is a long-term effort for the development of astronomy and space science through regional and international cooperation in this field on a worldwide basis, particularly in developing nations. A series of workshops on BSS was held from 1991 to 2004 (India 1991, Costa Rica and Colombia 1992, Nigeria 1993, Egypt 1994, Sri Lanka 1995, Germany 1996, Honduras 1997, Jordan 1999, France 2000, Mauritius 2001, Argentina 2002, and China 2004; http://www.seas.columbia.edu/~ah297/un-esa/) and addressed the status of astronomy in Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Western Asia. One major recommendation that emanated from these workshops was the establishment of astronomical facilities in developing nations for research and education programmes at the university level. Material for teaching and observing programmes for small optical telescopes were developed or recommended and astronomical telescope facilities have been inaugurated in a number of nations. Such workshops on BSS emphasized the particular importance of astrophysical data systems and the virtual observatory concept for the development of astronomy on a worldwide basis. Pursuant to resolutions of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) and its Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, since 2005, these workshops focused on IHY 2007 (UAE 2005, India 2006, Japan 2007, Bulgaria 2008, South Korea 2009; http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/SAP/bss/ihy2007/index.html).  Starting in 2010, the workshops will focus on the International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI)  as recommended in a three-year-work plan as part of the deliberations of UNCOPUOS (http://www.stil.bas.bg/ISWI/). UN/ESA/NASA/JAXA workshops on the ISWI have been scheduled to be hosted by Egypt in 2010 for Western Asia, Nigeria in 2011 for Africa, and Ecuador in 2012 for Latin America and the Caribbean.

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