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NASA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have agreed to expand their joint efforts to overcome international development challenges such as food security, climate change, and energy and environmental management.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah signed a five-year memorandum of understanding on Monday, April 25, at NASA Headquarters. The agreement formalizes 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.

"Technologies for NASA missions have long improved life here on Earth. Together with USAID, we'll meet even more sustainable development challenges here on the ground, solving problems for the world community," Bolden said. "As we explore space, we'll also be exploring solutions to important health, nutritional and safety challenges in developing countries."

The agencies will continue collaborations to stimulate innovative science and technology solutions to international development challenges by using Earth science data, research results, computer models, visualization applications and remote-sensing techniques.

USAID is the lead federal development agency implementing U.S. development efforts through field-based programs and projects around the world. NASA has broad experience with Earth science research, development of Earth science information products, and technology applications.

"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. "It's a prime example of our efforts to use the power of science and technology to tackle today's pressing development challenges."

Since 2003, NASA and USAID have worked together building and expanding the SERVIR program. The program allows 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 program, which supports science and technology innovators in the non-profit and private sectors. The program'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 programs 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 U.S. agencies.

For more information on the SERVIR program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/servir

For more information on the LAUNCH program, visit: http://www.launch.org

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov

For more information about USAID, visit: www.usaid.gov


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