Full text: Remote sensing for resources development and environmental management (Vol. 3)

Foundation into the international mobility of re 
searchers from various European countries points to 
the same phenomenon. It appears that Dutch research 
ers score low in terms of scientific works done 
abroad and collaboration with their foreign counter 
parts. So you can see that The Netherlands had a 
good reason to roll up its sleeves a few years ago 
and set about changing the situation. In the words 
of the Prime-Minister: 
’A prerequisite for the further internationalisa 
tion of The Netherlands’ research effort is that the 
country’s research facilities should be made acces 
sible to international research forums and that re 
searchers from The Netherlands should make greater 
use of facilities abroad. We must also intensify our 
efforts in the field of bilateral cooperation with 
other countries in the form of research projects and 
programmes, and we must have a clearly-defined pol 
icy for participation in EG programmes such as 
European countries as a whole also have an impor 
tant task. It is to ensure that Europe, which forms 
the largest economic block in the world, greater 
even than North America, has research teams of the 
same stature as those elsewhere in the world, both 
individually and collectively. That can only be 
achieved if the researchers themselves actively en 
courage collaboration between the various research 
establishments and promote the development of the 
joint programmes. It will also require the help of 
national governments in creating the right condi 
tions, for example, ensuring that the research es 
tablishments obtain the equipment they need; provid 
ing sufficient funds to maintain international con 
tacts; and coordinating national and European re 
search programmes. 
I should like to mention CERN, the European Organ 
isation for Nuclear Research and ESA, the European 
Space Agency, as two examples of European success 
stories in the field of scientific cooperation. 
Although both of these projects were set up for 
reasons of economy of scale, they nevertheless dis 
play the beneficial effects on quality to which I 
referred when I discussed the strategic need for 
cooperation. These projects both deserve credit on 
three major counts. 
Firstly, they represent scientific institutions of 
a world calibre. Secondly, they have set Europe new 
standards of research in high-energy physics and 
astronomical and astrophysical research. Thirdly, 
projects such as CERN and the ESA have produced work 
of such quality that they are attracting researchers 
from outside Europe. 
Earth observation is no respecter of borders, so 
it is hardly surprising that there is already con 
siderable international cooperation in the field of 
remote sensing. But this cooperation is simply not 
in the same league as the forms of cooperation to 
which I have just referred. 
The European Space Agency may as well be able to 
fill this gap in Europe if the same kind of approach 
is chosen as for the astronomical programme - the 
traditional area of cooperation within the ESA. The 
same applies to the JRS, which is based in Ispra in 
Italy, but it seems to me that that will require 
some fundamental changes of policy: in particular, 
the JRC will have to be involved more fully in na 
tional research programmes. 
Finally, Earsel could also acquire such a role, 
although I believe that this will require a con 
siderable improvement in the framework of coopera 
Our ultimate goal should be worldwide cooperation, 
such as already exists in meteorology. 
Accordingly, The Netherlands ’ Remote Sensing Pro 
gramme actively seeks to further international coop 
eration. How could it be otherwise, indeed, when one 
considers how firmly the ITC’s international perspec 
tive is anchored in its charter. 
I believe that the time has come for earth observa 
tion to move into the sphere of genuine strategic 
cooperation. The new generation of earth observation 
satellites will soon be providing us with vast quan 
tities of information. It is essential that the coun 
tries of the world pool their resources and collabor 
ate in the collection, transfer, processing and 
storage of this information. 
I am confident that you will rise to this chal 
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
I wish you a fruitful symposium, one in which you 
will be able to sow the seeds of new ideas and new 
forms of cooperation. 
It is my pleasure to declare this symposium open. 
Thank you.

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