IES Workshop looks at Judicial and Policy Aspects of Using Satellite Imagery

Expert Workshop on “Judicial and Policy Aspectsof Using Satellite Imagery”, 7 May 2013

The Hague, 7 May 2013

SYMIN“The Judicial and Policy Aspects of Using Satellite Imagery” was the subject of an expert workshop organised by IES in The Hague on 7 May 2013. The event was part of the SYMIN project on monitoring informal mining from space and followed a related expert workshop on “Satellite Imagery: Can it Contribute to Resource Governance and Conflict Prevention?” organised by BICC on 24 April 2013 in Bonn. In that meeting participants concluded that satellite imagery can, with the right safeguards in place, serve to enhance peace research, policy-making, resource governance and livelihoods.

During the workshop in The Hague, representatives from GAF AG in Munich, legal experts from The Hague and Rome, and staff from IES discussed the potential use of very-high-resolution (VHR) satellite images in criminal investigations and intelligence-gathering operations and for designing and implementing national environment and development policies.

The SYMIN project focuses on Afghanistan, where Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) can have a negative impact on the environment, the livelihoods of the miners and of surrounding communities. By adopting the use of VHR images, earth observation data and / or other remote sensing methods, users such as the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines, can monitor and inspect technical, environmental and social compliance; assess the needs to assist miners (or loggers) through training; and help prevent smuggling of raw materials.

Other examples and key issues included:

- The legal aspects of remote sensing, such as the admissibility of satellite images in court;

- A judicial analysis of environmental crime, taking into account the involvement of white collar criminals;

- Discussion on useful results of the case study “Satellite tracking of illegal logging and trafficking of Madagascar rosewood”; and

- The possible use of real time VHR data of poaching in the national parks in East and Southern Africa for criminal investigation purposes.

The Hague workshop was among the final events in the SYMIN project which is supported by the European Space Agency.

Download the Report of the Workshop

SYMIN Website