Published On: April 25, 2011 13:35 UTC-5
WASHINGTON: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah signed a five-year memorandum of understanding on 25 April, 2011, at NASA Headquarters. The agreement formalizes ongoing agency collaborations that use Earth science data to address developmental challenges, and to assist in disaster mitigation and humanitarian responses. The agreement also encourages NASA and USAID to apply geospatial technologies to solve development challenges affecting the United States and developing countries.
"Technologies for NASA missions have long improved life here on Earth. Together with USAID, we'll meet even more sustainable development challenges here on the ground, solving problems for the world community," Bolden said. "As we explore space, we'll also be exploring solutions to important health, nutritional and safety challenges in developing countries."
The agencies will continue collaborations to stimulate innovative science and technology solutions to international development challenges by using Earth science data, research results, computer models, visualization applications and remote-sensing techniques.
USAID is the lead federal development agency implementing U.S. development efforts through field-based programs and projects around the world. NASA has broad experience with Earth science research, development of Earth science information products, and technology applications.
"Through our partnership with NASA, we can apply the latest, cutting-edge technology to deliver meaningful results for people in developing countries in areas like health, food security and water," Shah said. "It's a prime example of our efforts to use the power of science and technology to tackle today's pressing development challenges."
Since 2003, USAID and NASA have worked together building and expanding the SERVIR program. The program allows people in developing regions to use Earth observations for addressing challenges in agriculture, biodiversity conservation, climate change, disaster response, weather forecasting, and energy and health issues. SERVIR integrates satellite observations, ground-based data and forecast models to monitor and forecast environmental changes and improving response to natural disasters in Central America, the Caribbean, East Africa and the Himalayan region of Asia.
The agencies also collaborate on the LAUNCH program, which supports science and technology innovators in the non-profit and private sectors. The program's goal is improving innovations to achieve greater impact on sustainability issues. NASA, USAID, the Department of State and Nike formed LAUNCH to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to global challenges through a series of forums.
The agencies have agreed to explore how efforts promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics education can be advanced through joint support of programs such as Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE). GLOBE is a worldwide primary and secondary school-based science and education program funded by NASA and other U.S. agencies.
Watch a video of the 25 April signing event at NASA Headquarters, available on NASA TV’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK_F9YJQjUI
Read NASA Administrator Charles Bolden's blog about this event: http://blogs.nasa.gov/cm/blog/bolden/posts/post_1303833859498.html
For more information about the SERVIR program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/servir
For more information about the LAUNCH program, visit: http://www.launch.org
U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington