For information only - not an official document
21 June 2016
UN Outer Space Committee closes with a focus on the future
VIENNA, 21 June (UN Information Service) - The 59th session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) closed in Vienna on Friday after making key decisions on the future of space cooperation.
To help ensure space safety and sustainability, the Committee agreed on a First Set of Guidelines on the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities. The Committee also extended the mandate of the Working Group on Long-term Sustainability for two years, so it may continue its work on a second set of guidelines. A full compendium of guidelines is expected to be adopted by the Committee, and submitted to the General Assembly for endorsement, in 2018.
The Committee approved seven thematic priorities for UNISPACE+50, a special session of the Committee set to take place in 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of the first UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The priorities are:
- Global partnership in space exploration and innovation
- Legal regime of outer space and global space governance: current and future perspectives
- Enhanced information exchange on space objects and events
- International framework for space weather services
- Strengthened space cooperation for global health
- International cooperation towards low-emission and resilient societies
- Capacity-building for the 21st century
COPUOS recommended that a joint panel discussion by the Disarmament and International Security Committee (First Committee) and the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) of the UN General Assembly be held during the 72nd session of the Assembly in 2017. This meeting will also acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty next year.
The Committee endorsed a recommendation for the global observance of an international asteroid day annually on 30 June, to be proclaimed by the General Assembly at its 71st session later this year. An international asteroid day will raise public awareness of the asteroid impact hazard and inform the public of global communication measures in case of a credible near-Earth object threat.
The Committee received New Zealand's application for membership and the International Air Transport Association's application for permanent observer status. These applications were endorsed and will be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly for approval.
Other agenda items included space and sustainable development, water and climate change, as well as the spin-off benefits of space technology and the use of such technology within the United Nations system.
Lastly, in a new outreach initiative, the first Annual Report of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) was presented to the Committee by the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, Yury Fedotov, and UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo. Ms Di Pippo also unveiled branding for UNISPACE+50.
The Committee meets every year at the Vienna International Centre to promote international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. During this year's session, David Kendall of Canada assumed the chair of the Committee.
The report of the Committee will be presented for approval to the United Nations General Assembly's 71st session later in the year.
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For further information, please contact:
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-8718