Promoting research and education in basic space science:
the approach of the UN/ESA workshops
The United Nations/European Space Agency workshops on basic space science are a long-term effort for the development of astrophysics and space science and regional and international cooperation in this field on a world-wide basis, particularly in developing nations. The first four workshops in this series (India (1991), Costa Rica and Colombia (1992), Nigeria (1993), Egypt (1994)) explored the status of astrophysics and space science in Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Western Asia, respectively. One major recommendation that emanated from the first four workshops was that small astronomical facilities should be established in developing nations for research and education programmes at the university level and that such facilities should be networked in the future. Subsequently, a teaching module and observing programmes for small optical telescopes were developed or recommended and astronomical telescope facilities have been inaugurated at UN/ESA workshops on basic space
science in Sri Lanka (1995), Honduras (1997), and Jordan (1999). UN/ESA workshops on basic space science in Germany (1996), France (2000), Mauritius (2001), and Argentina (2002) have made contributions to the establishment and operation of small astronomical telescope facilities in developing nations.