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The European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC)

Established in 1999 as a permanent forum for inter-parliamentary co-operation in space between the European national parliaments interested in space policy, it aims at facilitating the exchange of information on space activities and at promoting mutual understanding of national policies through the provision of a forum for analysing the major issues at stake in the European space sector.
Established in 1999 as a permanent forum for inter-parliamentary co-operation in space between the European national parliaments interested in space policy, it aims at facilitating the exchange of information on space activities and at promoting mutual understanding of national policies through the provision of a forum for analysing the major issues at stake in the European space sector.
Message from the EISC 2017 Chairwoman Ms. Liisa Oviir
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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Estonia is holding the rotating chairmanship of the European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC) at an exciting time. The year 2017 sees many space anniversaries. The first satellite Sputnik was launched in October 1957 – 60 years ago. The main legal document on outer space, the Outer Space Treaty, was signed 50 years ago, in 1967. Much has happened since then and mankind has boldly gone where we could not have imagined in the early space age.

Recent developments have shown that increasingly, space is coming down to earth! We are seeing more and more occasions where space application are of direct use to help solve problems on earth. Entrepreneurs are seeing new opportunities in space but also on earth, supported by space use. What is perhaps the main difference regarding space use in 2017 compared to for example 1967, when the Outer Space Treaty was written, is that private enterprise now plays a big role in space. This is exciting and promising, but it also highlights deficiencies in the legal framework for space, as private enterprise necessitates legal certainty and a clear framework. Work is currently ongoing in the framework of the UN Committee for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to draft guidelines for sustainable use of outer space, but work is needed also in other contexts and fora.

Thus, the Estonian chairmanship has decided to focus on space and entrepreneurship, to discuss with various stakeholders the exciting opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in space and thanks to space, but also to discuss together the obstacles that may be caused by a deficient legal framework, problems of space debris, challenges of access to space data or other issues.

Estonia has made high technology and use of e-services its hallmark – we are proud of our innovative society with a willingness among both public and private sector actors to try new solutions and think outside of the box. Our chairmanship of EISC gives us – a recent space nation and European Space Agency Member – an excellent opportunity to share ideas with friends and colleagues from many countries about how to find connections between entrepreneurship on earth and in space.

During our chairmanship, we look forward to welcoming delegates to a workshop on May 22-23, where the observatory in the university town of Tartu will offer a possibility for “hands-on” space experience for a smaller group. On November 6-7, the main event of the chairmanship will be held in conjunction with the Space Week organised as an element of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2017. During the main conference, we will have high-level panels on: Opportunities and obstacles for entrepreneurs in space; The changing legal framework for space; Space as support for the e-society; and Sustainable space use in light of mega-constellations, space traffic management and other topical space issues. Panellists will come from Estonia and EISC Member States as well as elsewhere, from business, government, international organisations and academia. We hope to adopt a resolution as a result of the conference, with new ideas for space and entrepreneurship.

I look forward to welcoming you to Estonia during this exciting space year!

Liisa OVIIR
Chairwoman of the XIX EISC, Chairwoman of the Estonian Delegation to EISC
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