Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
    Press Release No:  UNIS/OS/218
    Release Date:   5 June  2000
    Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to Hold Forty-third Session 
    In Vienna, 7 to 16 June 2000

    To Discuss Implementation of UNISPACE III Recommendations, 
    Review Status of Outer Space Treaties and Concept of “Launching State” .

    VIENNA, 5 June (UN Information Service) – The 43rd session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) will be convening from June 7 to 16 to discuss the ways and means of maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes, the spin-off benefits of space technology, and the work and reports of its subcommittees.  Topics of discussion may include: the implementation of UNISPACE III recommendations, strengthening the activities of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, World Space Week, review of the status of the five international treaties governing outer space, and review of the concept of the “launching State.” 

     The General Assembly created the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in 1959 to review the scope of international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programs under the auspices of the United Nations, to encourage research and dissemination of information on outer space, and to study relevant legal problems.  The Committee has two subcommittees: the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee.
     

    UNISPACE III Recommendations

     At its thirty-seventh session, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee considered UNISPACE III recommendations concerning issues such as education and training, increasing public awareness of the benefits of space science, strengthening space activities within the United Nations system, and using space technology for human security and welfare.  The Subcommittee endorsed a plan for implementing certain UNISPACE III recommendations, which the Committee will consider.  

    The UNISPACE III recommendations called for strengthening the United Nations Programme on Space Applications through organizing training and workshops, particularly on the use of satellite communications for disaster management and in developing countries for distance learning.  The recommendations also addressed the importance of promoting the use of space technologies within the United Nations system, strengthening the partnership with NGOs and private industry, and initiating a public outreach program.  The Committee will also consider a plan to celebrate World Space Week, a new U.N. event, which will be taking place from October 4 to 10.  
    The Committee may also discuss recommendations of the Subcommittee regarding the use of nuclear power sources in outer space.  This year the Subcommittee identified terrestrial processes and technical standards that may be relevant to nuclear power sources, including factors distinguishing nuclear power sources in outer space from terrestrial nuclear applications.

    At its thirty-seventh session the Subcommittee discussed space debris and reviewed the international application of ITU standards and IADC recommendations concerning the disposal of satellites in geosynchronous orbit at the end of their useful life.  The Subcommittee noted that the ITU standards and IADC recommendations were recently developed and not mandatory, and that more research would be needed to fully understand the space debris environment near the geostationary orbit.  

    Additional issues discussed by the Subcommittee were remote sensing of  the Earth by satellites, international cooperation in human spaceflight, and presentations on new launch systems and ventures.

    The Subcommittee drafted a provisional agenda for its thirty-eighth session to be held in 2001.  Proposed topics include, but are not limited to the following: space debris, means and mechanisms for strengthening inter-agency cooperation and increasing the use of space applications within the United Nations system, and implementation of an integrated space-based global natural disaster management system.
     

    Review of Space Treaties and Concept of “Launching State”

      At its thirty-ninth session the Legal Subcommittee considered and endorsed the recommendations of its Working Group on review of the status of the five international treaties governing outer space.  The Committee will continue the discussion of this matter during its session.

      The Subcommittee began a three year work plan, entitled, “Review of the Concept of the "launching State.”  The term “launching State” is used in the Registration Convention and in the Liability Convention.  The first year of the three year plan commenced this year with special presentations on new launch systems in order to increase the States’ understanding of these launch activities and their legal implications.  
     
      The Committee will review the Subcommittee’s discussion on the activities of international organizations relating to outer space law.  During its session, the Subcommittee reviewed reports from United Nations organizations and other international organizations on their activities relating to outer space law.  

      The Subcommittee also addressed equitable access and utilization of the geostationary orbit and matters relating to the definition and delimitation of outer space.  The Subcommittee adopted a paper entitled, “Some aspects concerning the use of the geostationary orbit,” which contained recommendations regarding the use of the frequency and orbit resource.

      The Subcommittee drafted a provisional agenda for its fortieth session to be held in 2001.  Proposed topics include: status of the five United Nations treaties on outer space, information on the activities of international organizations relating to space law, review of the concept of the “launching State,” definition and delimitation of outer space, and character and utilization of geostationary orbit.
     

    Membership

      Membership in COPUOS consists of 61 countries each year.  The following countries are members:

      Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba*, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia*, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru*, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea*, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam and Yugoslavia.  

     (* Peru and Malaysia rotate their memberships every two years with Cuba and the Republic of Korea)

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