Satellites and World Heritage Sites, Partners to Understand Climate Change

Cancun, Mexico during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 16)

November-December 2010

UNESCO and its space partners bringing space science and technology closer to society.
Through an Exhibition showing how satellites are measuring climate change effects on World Heritage sites, UNESCO acquires great visibility at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2010.

The 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010. COP 16 was the main climate change forum of the year and a key moment to capture the attention of decision-makers, politicians, the international community and the general public in order to highlight UNESCO’s work on climate change, and to promote real change. Thousands of delegates from around the world were arriving in Cancun to discuss climate change and many Cancun residents were not aware of what was happening in their city.

The Exhibition ‘Satellites and World Heritage sites, partners to understand climate change’ was settled up in a popular park (Parque de las Palapas) where it was visited by thousands of people and reach its aim to create awareness among society, teachers and students.

The UNESCO exhibition was officially opened by Ms Gretchen Kalonji, Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences, and Mr Jaime Hernández Zaragoza, mayor of Cancun, in presence of school students and journalists. The exhibition received wide acclaim in the international press and media, bringing a unique visibility to UNESCO, for the first time during a UN Climate Change Conference.

UNESCO organized guided visits of the exhibition for local school students and teachers. UNESCO also held information and introductory meetings with teachers, where associated educational material in the form of slideshows, brochures and the exhibition catalogue were distributed to help them prepare for the visit of the UNESCO Exhibition and make the whole experience more useful in the classrooms.

Space is assisting UNESCO in addressing the challenge of making science and technology accessible and understood by the general public.