Washington, D.C., US: NASA and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU). The agreement formalised 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 as well as developing countries.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah signed MOU at NASA Headquarters. “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.
Since 2003, NASA and USAID have worked together building and expanding the SERVIR programme. The programme allowed 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 improve responses to natural disasters in Central America and the Caribbean, East Africa, and the Himalayan region of Asia.
The agencies also collaborate on the LAUNCH programme, which supports science and technology innovators in the non-profit and private sectors. The programme’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 programmes 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 US agencies.