The peaceful use of space for all nations is consistent with the vision of the United Nations, as it is with every professional in our industry. And there is one group and a person at the UN whose role it is to work toward that vision every hour of the day. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) works to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use and exploration of space and in the ulitization of space science and technology for sustainable economic and social development. In the second episode of Invisible, Indispensable Infrastructure, we hear from Aarti Holla-Maini, Director of UNOOSA, a true champion of the peaceful uses of space and its development.

 

Aarti Holla-Maini is the Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), having taken up post on September 18 following her appointment by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Ms. Holla-Maini brings over 25 years of experience in the space and satellite sector, working predominantly with international organizations and regulators. Prior to the United Nations, she held the post of Secretary-General of the Global Satellite Operators Association. Ms. Holla-Maini is a recognized leader with a strong track record in forging public-private and cross-sector partnerships; high-level advocacy at the international level; strategic communication and managing diverse stakeholders.

 

Under her leadership, Ms. Holla-Maini expanded the association from being a regional organization to a global one representing commercial satellite operators around the world. She was one of the chief architects of the Crisis Connectivity Charter established in 2015 for emergency telecommunications via satellite with the UN World Food Programme’s Emergency Telecommunications Cluster and has, on multiple occasions, secured recognition and policy support for space technologies to play their rightful role in connecting the unconnected, in Europe, Africa and beyond.

 

The appointment of Ms. Holla-Maini comes at a time when activities in space are being increasingly driven by the private sector. Her deep experience in high-level advocacy with international organizations and regulators, along with her understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the space sector, will serve Member States well as they seek to access and leverage the benefits of space to accelerate sustainable development. Ms. Holla-Maini’s experience has included service as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space; member of the Advisory Group of the Space Sustainability Rating managed by eSpace at EPFL Space Center; member of the Advisory Board of the Satellite Industry Association of India; Senior Space Policy Advisor to Forum Europe and an Expert Advisor on Space Traffic Management for European Union studies 2021-2023.

 

Ms. Holla-Maini holds a bachelor’s degree in law with German law from Kings College London and a master’s degree in business administration from HEC in France. She is fluent in French, German and Punjabi alongside her native English and has moderate knowledge of Dutch.

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