Latin America Engagement Update

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One of the Satellite Application Catapult’s key roles is to open international opportunities for the UK satellite applications sector. With Chile and the surrounding regions playing an active role in the Pacific Alliance, the Catapult aims to reach out to other Latin-American countries and demonstrate the potential for satellite applications to stimulate economic growth.

The Catapult’s work in Chile focuses on satellite services that deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits. Our team will look to develop our relationship with Chile, and connect them with different economic sectors, to explore how they can benefit from UK innovations in the application of satellite data and technology.

The most urgent challenges facing us in the twenty-first century are global in nature – which calls for a spirit of collaboration beyond national borders. The Catapult brings together the combined energy, enthusiasm and latest satellite technology from the UK onto the international stage, with an ongoing focus in Latin America.

The latest developments in our collaborations took place earlier this year, where the Catapult concluded a project for the Pacific Alliance, bringing together a coordination between Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile.  “In the coming months we will continue giving significant steps through engagements with international funding bodies and agencies linked to the United Nations for the development of the region”, Luis Ramirez, the Satellite Applications Catapult representative in Chile added. Currently, we have a number of exciting projects in Colombia and Peru, where UK and local partnerships are working together to develop cutting edge satellite enabled solutions to address the problems of deforestation, food security and environmental sustainability within the mining sector.

In search for new heights of collaboration in other countries of the region, during the first half of 2018, representatives of the Satellite Applications Catapult have had at least 50 formal meetings in 7 countries of the region, including workshops and seminars that gathered around 200 people. In the last two weeks, an intense program of activities was developed in Chile and Brazil:

During the week of July 13, Alastair Lees, Maral Bayaraa, and Luis Ramirez attended ten formal meetings in Santiago, exploring the key challenges and opportunities within the Chilean agricultural, mining and environmental sectors.

Key Chilean stakeholders met during this visit: the National Emergency Office (ONEMI), the Copernicus Relay led by the University of Chile, the Ministry of Mining, the Natural Resources Information Centre (CIREN), Fundación Pais Digital, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Vice Minister of Agriculture, and the Superintendence of Environment (SMA).

The support of the British Embassies in Latin America has been an essential part of our activities. For that reason, the week commenced by meeting with the recently appointed British Ambassador to Chile, Jamie Bowden. The meeting largely discussed the potentials of the UK space sector and the role of the Catapults in accelerating innovation, and latest updates on how satellite enabled technologies can help address some of the largest problems in countries such as Chile. The team also presented an update on an International Partnership Programme (IPP) project at the technical conference Tailings 2018 in Santiago. This IPP project is led by a UK company HR Wallingford and aims to reduce the risk of tailings dam failures in Peru by developing a satellite enabled monitoring platform and an early warning system.

In the following week, the same team continued their mission with a working agenda in Minas Gerais – the fourth largest Brazilian state and the epicentre of the enormous Brazilian mining industry. Again, the support of the UK Consulate in Belo Horizonte played a vital role in coordinating nine formal meetings and a workshop focused on understanding the unique challenges faced by the Brazilian mining sector. Perhaps, the most important outcome of the week was a workshop organised by the Brazilian Institute of Mining (IBRAM), a private, non-profit national organization, that represents the companies and institutions that work in the mining sector. The workshop was attended by nearly 30 representatives from the Brazilian mining industry including, Vale, Kinross, Axxiom, Anglo American, Samarco, CBMM, Anglogold Ashanti, ArcelorMittal and CSN.