UNOOSA Appoints Dr Driss El Hadani as Senior Adviser

Dr Driss El Hadani, the Director-General of Centre Royal de Télédétection Spatiale (CRTS), Morocco, has been appointed the Senior Adviser at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).  Under the supervision of the Director of the Office and the delegated authority, Dr El Hadani will provide expert advice and research support for space science and education activities and programmes implemented by UNOOSA and manage the Office’s activities related to the United Nations-affiliated regional centres for space science and technology education. 

In this role, Dr El-Hadani will provide expert advice and support research in space science and education for the programmes and projects implemented by the Space Applications Section (SAS), the secretariats of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and its subsidiary bodies, the International Committee on Global Navigation and Satellite Systems (ICG) and Space Mission Planning Group (SMPAG), and the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER). He will also oversee, support and promote the activities undertaken by the Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education established under auspices of the Office and oversee the management of activities implemented under his/her authority and ensure efficient time management, coordinate with the Sections of the Office, as well as with other organisations of the United Nations System.

About Dr Driss El Hadani

With 32 years of experience in the development and implementation of programmes and projects within the space sector, Dr Driss El Hadani has spent 28 years as the Director-General of Centre Royal de Télédétection Spatiale (CRTS), contributing immensely to the growth of the organisation, including consolidating the CRTS/Morocco cooperation relations with foreign partners and international organisations such as the European Space Agency (ESA), World Bank, the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), among others.

In addition, as the DG of CRTS, he has transformed the centre into a leading institution in Africa and Middle East regions. In his capacity as Director-General, he has implemented the Moroccan Space Data Infrastructure that provides spatial information to all national users in public and private sectors and boosted the National Space Applications Market by developing a wide range of applications and services in agriculture, urban planning, environment, natural resources, security, and risk management. Dr Driss El Hadani has a background in engineering, management, and law and has trained more than 3,000 executives and academics on space and remote sensing techniques and their uses to advance the adoption of space-based technologies for accelerated growth. He also contributed his expertise to the Moroccan satellites project between 2011-2018, culminating in the launch of the Mohammed VI-A and Mohammed VI-B, developed and built by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space. 

Furthermore, other notable works by Dr Driss El Hadani include launching and implementing several cooperation programmes such as the Support for the Promotion and Development of Remote Sensing in Morocco project, which was co-financed by the European Union; the Regional Coordination on Improved Water Resources Management and Capacity Building programme in collaboration with NASA, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Bank; and the Near Real Time Loss Information on Natural Catastrophe Risks in Morocco, in partnership with the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT).

Dr Driss El Hadani holds a master’s degree in applied Space Technology from Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France, a Master of Business Administration – Organisation Management, from the Institue Supérieur du Commerce et Administration des Entreprises (ISCAE), Casablanca, Morocco, an engineering degree from Ecole Mohammadia d’Ingénieurs (EMI), University Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco, and a Bachelor of Law from Faculté de Droit, University Mohammed V, Rabat, Rabat, Morocco. Dr Driss El Hadani was the first Vice-president of the United Nations Committee for the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) between 2000 – 2004 and the Vice-president of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) between 2000 – 2004.

He has been involved in various international organisations, including the Group on Earth Observation (GEO), the Administrative Committee on Developing Countries and Emerging Communities (ACDCEC), and the UNOOSA Working Group in charge of strategy for the integration of space technique in risk and natural disaster management (DMISCO) between 1999 – 2005, among others. Dr Driss El Hadani is also a Member of the Scientific Committee of the African Centre for Catastrophic Risks and the Moroccan delegation to the COPUOS and its Scientific, Technical and Legal subcommittees.