The first 'Global Conference on Space for Emerging Countries' (GLEC 2019) took place in Marrakesh, Morocco from 24 to 26 April 2019. This latest gathering of the International Astronautical Federation's (IAF) global conference series was organised in cooperation with the Moroccan Centre Royal de Télédétection Spatiale (CRTS), and the support of the Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES). With over 400 participants from more than 20 countries, the conference brought together the international community to discuss the benefits of space technologies for socio-economic development, and in particular for emerging countries. GLEC 2019 was the first event of the IAF global conference series to take place in the African continent; accordingly, much of the attention was placed on this region. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) was represented by Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the Executive Board, as well as numerous DLR experts.
The event was inaugurated by Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Moroccan Minister of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy, Abdellatif Loudiyi, Minister Delegate to the Head of Government in charge of the National Defense Administration; IAF President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Pascale Ehrenfreund as IAF Vice President for Global Conferences and incoming IAF President. In her remarks, Prof. Ehrenfreund highlighted her “firm intention […] to guarantee the further development of this topical conference in future years”.
In a panel discussion on space as a driver for socio-economic development, Prof. Ehrenfreund stressed the need to open the space sector to new actors in innovative ways to provide socio-economic developments, in particular in emerging countries. She also highlighted DLR’s strong contributions to these objectives, particularly through its unique structure, to foster synergies between space technologies and other sectors (like the energy sector) crucial to regional development. DLR supports African partners with numerous successful projects, such as the EnerMENA Meteo Network project in Morocco. EnerMENA used remote sensing to gather meteorological data such as solar irradiance to optimise photovoltaic energy production in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.
At the conclusion of the conference, Prof. Ehrenfreund announced that the next IAF 'Global Space Exploration Conference' (GLEX) will take place in June 2020 in St. Petersburg, Russia.