EU Presidency Statement - International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space
Sommaire: EU Presidency Statement - International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space (12 October 2006: New York)
Statement on behalf of the European Union, by Ms. Heli Kanerva, Minister Counsellor, The Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, United Nations General Assembly, Sixty-first Session, Fourth Committee, Agenda item 30: International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, New York
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and the EFTA Countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this declaration.
The peaceful use of outer space and the use of space applications are playing an increasingly important role in our society and when rightly done can be of great benefit to all humankind. The security of space and earth are inextricably linked and our economies and global development are increasingly dependant on space. The benefits of space technology and its applications should contribute to a growth of space activities favourable to sustained economic growth and sustainable
Space science and technology can contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals such as eradicating extreme poverty, improving health care and ensuring environmentally sustainable development. They can also contribute to achieving the goals of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as for example through Earth Observation and telecommunication.
Space is an unique environment as unlike land and sea it is not subject to claims of national sovereignty. Space is the only global commons that borders every community. The right of all states to explore outer space and make the most of the opportunities for scientific, economic, developmental, environmental and communication benefits is universally accepted. It is the responsibility of all states to ensure that these rights are realised in the interest of maintaining international peace and
security. We need to work together to ensure peaceful, secure, equitable and sustainable use of space.
The EU and its Member States are conscious of the growing involvement of the international community in outer space activities for development and progress, and of the increasing dependence on outer space for their economic and industrial development as well as their security. We are also actively cooperating in various space initiatives. Such activities should be developed in a peaceful environment: an arms race in outer space should be prevented. Such prevention is an essential condition for
strengthening of strategic stability and for the promotion of international cooperation in the free exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes by all States.
The European Union has received with great appreciation the report of the forty-ninth session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) held in Vienna in June 2006. The report gives a broad overview of the varied subjects relevant to the peaceful uses of outer space and highlights the progress made so far and the key challenges for the future.
After a successful review of the implementation of the recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) in 2004 the COPUOS continues to make progress in many important areas, such as:
-the development of a comprehensive world-wide environmental monitoring strategy
-the protection of the Earth's environment and sustainable management of its resources
-the use of telemedicine to improve health care, especially in the developing countries
-the implementation of an integrated world-wide system for disaster management.
The EU attaches great importance to the work done so far by COPUOS and believes such progress should continue. The EU encourages the Committee to establish practical mechanisms for coordinating its work with other related bodies such as the General Assembly and relevant subsidiary bodies and special organisations of the UN.
Space-system-based disaster management support will benefit all mankind, especially developing countries frequently stricken by natural disasters. Hence the EU welcomes the proposal of COPUOS to set up a Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response. This platform will contribute to fostering international cooperation and optimizing the efficiency of services for disaster management. It will serve as a gateway to space information for disaster management
support as well as a bridge to connect disaster management and space communities.
Some issues regarding the peaceful use of outer space merit particular attention due to their complex nature. The EU would like to draw attention to two examples:
-world commercial space industry has risen from $2,1 billion in 1980 to $100 billion in 2004. The continuously increasing commercialisation of outer space demands attention and appropriate international and national legal frameworks. To take up this challenge the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs organises annual workshops on space law. There has been great interest in this topic in both developing and developed countries and this work should continue.
-special attention needs to be paid also to the increasing pollution of the outer space caused by man-made and natural space debris. Space debris will be a hindrance to future space activities if no further special measures are taken soon, both nationally and internationally. In this respect the EU notes with appreciation that international and national progress has been made in implementing the appropriate measures based on international space debris mitigation guidelines as formulated by the
Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee. The risk represented by space debris for the operability of all space activities is an additional source of concern. From this point of view, the activity of COPUOS, including on space debris, seems relevant for our deliberations. Also the European Space Agency (ESA) and several EU-countries play an active role in the prevention and monitoring of space debris.
The EU believes that continued international co-operation in the field of space science and technology is essential. The EU would like to emphasize two specific examples highlighting the involvement of Europe in this important international co-operation:
-in the field of Earth Observation the European initiative 'Global Monitoring for Environment and Security' (GMES) aims to achieve a common way of harmonising Earth observation information. Initiatives like GMES play a substantive role in achieving the goals of the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development such as improving peoples' lives and conserving national resources.
-in the area of space technology for navigation, geo-positioning and time synchronisation the EU is developing its own global satellite navigation system, Galileo, in addition to the US's Global Positioning System and the Russian GLONASS system. During the past year we have made significant progress in the Galileo programme. In December 2005 Galileo came nearer to its completion as its first GIOVE-A test-satellite was launched successfully. In March 2006 more than 100 representatives from the
satellite navigation industry gathered in Brussels for a workshop to review progress and exchange ideas on Galileo. In April 2006 researchers and representatives from SME's presented their projects that will utilise the unique qualities of Galileo. Galileo can be used for example in early warning systems to predict landslides, to track endangered species in wildlife and to provide high accuracy positioning arrays that will enable helicopters to work in difficult circumstances.
In this context, we would like to stress the importance of the European Space Agency (ESA) which co-operates closely with the EU in the development of GMES and Galileo. ESA has also taken forward the development of various European space activities from the common European Strategy for Space. Moreover, ESA has a world-wide role, for example in connection with UNISPACE III, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the International Space Station. An important milestone will be achieved
when Europe's first polar-orbiting weather satellite MetOp-A is launched by a joint programme of ESA and the European Meteorological Satellite Organisation (Eumetsat) on the 17th of October forming the European part of an integrated system to be deployed jointly with the USA to provide better weather and climate information.
The EU also recognizes a growing convergence of views on the elaboration of measures to strengthen transparency, confidence and security in the peaceful uses of outer space. The EU recalls that its Member States unanimously voted in favor of UNGA Resolutions 60/66 on Transparency and Confidence Building Measures in Outer Space Activities and on 60/54 on Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space.
In conclusion, it is clear that space science and space technology increasingly affect our society and the welfare of humanity. The EU is committed to ensuring that outer space will be used for the benefit of all humankind and life on earth.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
- Ref: PRES06-257EN
- Source UE: Présidence UE
- UN forum: Quatrième Commission (Affaires politiques spéciales et décolonisation)
- Date: 11/10/2006
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