United Nations

A/RES/51/123


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

10 February 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



Fifty-first session
Agenda item 83


                  RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

       [on the report of Special Political and Decolonization Committee
                         (Fourth Committee)(A/51/590)]


            51/123.     International cooperation in the
                        peaceful uses of outer space

      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolution 50/27 of 6 December 1995,

      Deeply convinced of the common interest of mankind in promoting
the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes and in
continuing efforts to extend to all States the benefits derived
therefrom, and also of the importance of international cooperation in
this field, for which the United Nations should continue to provide a
focal point,

      Reaffirming the importance of international cooperation in
developing the rule of law, including the relevant norms of space law
and their important role in international cooperation for the
exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, 

      Stressing the importance of the widest possible adherence to
international treaties that promote the peaceful uses of outer space,

      Concerned about the possibility of an arms race in outer space,

      Recognizing that all States, in particular those with major space
capabilities, should contribute actively to the goal of preventing an
arms race in outer space as an essential condition for the promotion
of international cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space
for peaceful purposes,

      Considering that space debris is an issue of concern to all
nations,

      Noting the progress achieved in the further development of
peaceful space exploration and application as well as in various
national and cooperative space projects, which contribute to
international cooperation, and the importance of further international
cooperation in this field,

      Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General 1/ on the
implementation of the recommendations of the Second United Nations
Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, 2/

      Having considered the report of the Committee on the Peaceful
Uses of Outer Space on the work of its thirty-ninth session, 3/

      1.    Endorses the report of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of
Outer Space on the work of its thirty-ninth session; 3/

      2.    Invites States that have not yet become parties to the
international treaties governing the uses of outer space 4/ to give
consideration to ratifying or acceding to those treaties;

      3.    Notes that, at its thirty-fifth session, the Legal
Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, in
its working groups, continued its work as mandated by the General
Assembly in its resolution 50/27; 5/

      4.    Endorses the recommendations of the Committee that the Legal
Subcommittee, at its thirty-sixth session, taking into account the
concerns of all countries, particularly those of developing countries,
should:

      (a)   Continue its consideration of the question of review and
possible revision of the Principles Relevant to the Use of Nuclear
Power Sources in Outer Space; 6/

      (b)   Continue, through its working group, its consideration of
matters relating to the definition and delimitation of outer space and
to the character and utilization of the geostationary orbit, including
consideration of ways and means to ensure the rational and equitable
use of the geostationary orbit without prejudice to the role of the
International Telecommunication Union;

      5.    Also endorses the recommendation of the Committee that the
Legal Subcommittee, at its thirty-sixth session, should suspend
consideration in its working group of the Principles Relevant to the
Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space pending the results of the
work in the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, without prejudice
to the possibility of reconvening its working group on that item if in
the opinion of the Legal Subcommittee sufficient progress was made in
the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee at its session in 1997 to
warrant the reconvening of the working group;

      6.    Notes that deliberations on the question of the
geostationary orbit have been undertaken by the Legal Subcommittee as
reflected in its report, 5/ on the basis of recent proposals which
might provide a new and enhanced basis for future work;

      7.    Endorses the recommendations and agreements concerning the
organization of work in the Legal Subcommittee;

      8.    Notes that the Chairman of the Legal Subcommittee, at its
thirty-fifth session, conducted open-ended informal consultations with
all members of the Subcommittee on the working methods of the
Subcommittee, including the consideration of possible additional items
for inclusion in its agenda, as outlined in the report of the
Committee, 7/ and that the implementation of several
recommendations made by the Subcommittee at its thirty-fourth session
resulted in a general recognition of the improvements in the working
methods of the Subcommittee at its thirty-fifth session;

      9.    Welcomes the fact that, pursuant to its request in paragraph
12 of its resolution 50/27, the Legal Subcommittee reviewed its
requirement for summary records and that, beginning with its
thirty-sixth session, it would be provided with unedited verbatim
transcripts in lieu of summary records;

      10.   Notes with satisfaction that, in accordance with paragraph
11 of its resolution 50/27, the Committee was provided, at its
thirty-ninth session, with unedited verbatim transcripts of that
session in lieu of verbatim records and that the Committee would
evaluate the use of unedited verbatim transcripts at its fortieth
session to inform the General Assembly at its fifty-second session of
the experience of the Committee with the transcripts;

      11.   Notes that, in accordance with paragraph 9 of its resolution
50/27, the Committee reconvened, at its thirty-ninth session, the
Working Group of the Whole to examine the working methods of the
Committee and its subsidiary bodies;

      12.   Endorses the recommendations of the Committee as contained
in its report on its thirty-ninth session with regard to its working
methods; 8/

      13.   Notes that, in accordance with the agreement of the
Committee at its thirty-ninth session, the Chairman of the Committee
undertook and will continue to hold, as necessary, inter-sessional
informal consultations among the members of the Committee with a view
to reaching consensus decisions before the fortieth session of the
Committee on the modalities of establishing a new composition of
bureaux, keeping in view the principles of equitable geographical
representation and rotation, and that all proposals made by
delegations and groups of delegations, including the need for agenda
restructuring and an examination of session duration, were taken into
account in the framework of those informal consultations;

      14.   Agrees that if consensus agreement is reached among the
members of the Committee on measures relating to the working methods
of the Committee and its subsidiary bodies, including the composition
and election of the bureaux, duration of sessions of those bodies and
inclusion of additional items in the agenda of the Legal Subcommittee,
those measures should be implemented during the 1997 sessions of the
Committee and its subsidiary bodies as the transitional arrangements
for the year 1997;

      15.   Notes that the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, at its thirty-third
session, continued its work as mandated by the General Assembly in its
resolution 50/27; 9/

      16.   Notes with satisfaction that the Scientific and Technical
Subcommittee continued to consider on a priority basis the agenda item
on space debris and that the work of the Subcommittee at its
thirty-third session concentrated on the topic of measurements of
space debris, understanding of data and effects of this environment on
space systems, based on the multi-year work plan adopted by the
Subcommittee at its thirty-second session; 10/

      17.   Agrees that the multi-year work plan for the consideration
of the item on space debris should continue to be implemented with
flexibility;

      18.   Endorses the recommendations of the Committee that the
Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, at its thirty-fourth session,
taking into account the concerns of all countries, particularly those
of developing countries, should:

        (a)    Consider the following items on a priority basis:

        (i)    United Nations Programme on Space Applications and the
               coordination of space activities within the United
               Nations system;

       (ii)    Implementation of the recommendations of the Second
               United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful
               Uses of Outer Space; 2/

      (iii)    Matters relating to remote sensing of the Earth by
               satellites, including, inter alia, applications for
               developing countries;

       (iv)    Use of nuclear power sources in outer space;

        (v)    Space debris;

        (b)    Consider the following items:

        (i)    Questions relating to space transportation systems and
               their implications for future activities in space;

       (ii)    Examination of the physical nature and technical
               attributes of the geostationary orbit and of its
               utilization and applications, including, inter alia, in
               the field of space communications, as well as other
               questions relating to space communications developments,
               taking particular account of the needs and interests of
               developing countries;

      (iii)    Matters relating to life sciences, including space
               medicine;

       (iv)    Progress in national and international space activities
               related to the Earth's environment, in particular
               progress in the international geosphere-biosphere (global
               change) programme;

        (v)    Matters relating to planetary exploration;

       (vi)    Matters relating to astronomy;

      (vii)    The theme fixed for special attention at the
               thirty-fourth session of the Scientific and Technical
               Subcommittee:  "Space systems for direct broadcasting and
               global information systems for space research"; the
               Committee on Space Research and the International
               Astronautical Federation, in liaison with Member States,
               should be invited to arrange a symposium, with as wide a
               participation as possible, to be held during the first
               week of the Subcommittee's session, to complement
               discussions within the Subcommittee on the special theme;

      19.   Considers, in the context of paragraph 18 (a) (ii) above,
that it is particularly urgent to implement the following
recommendations:

      (a)   All countries should have the opportunity to use the
techniques resulting from medical studies in space;

      (b)   Databases at the national and regional levels should be
strengthened and expanded and an international space information
service should be established to function as a centre of coordination;

      (c)   The United Nations should support the creation of adequate
training centres at the regional level, linked, whenever possible, to
institutions implementing space programmes; necessary funding for the
development of such centres should be made available through financial
institutions;

      (d)   The United Nations should organize a fellowship programme
through which selected graduates or postgraduates from developing
countries should get in-depth, long-term exposure to space technology
or applications; it is also desirable to encourage the availability of
opportunities for such exposure on other bilateral or multilateral
bases outside the United Nations system;

      20.   Endorses the recommendations of the Working Group of the
Whole to Evaluate the Implementation of the Recommendations of the
Second United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses
of Outer Space, of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, as
endorsed by the Committee and as contained in the report of the
Working Group of the Whole; 11/

      21.   Also endorses the recommendation of the Committee that the
Scientific and Technical Subcommittee should reconvene, at its
thirty-fourth session, the Working Group of the Whole to Evaluate the
Implementation of the Recommendations of the Second United Nations
Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, to
continue its work;

      22.   Invites Member States to report to the Secretary-General on
a regular basis with regard to national and international research
concerning the safety of space objects with nuclear power sources on
board;

      23.   Endorses the United Nations Programme on Space Applications
for 1997, as proposed to the Committee by the Expert on Space
Applications; 12/

      24.   Emphasizes the urgency and importance of implementing fully
the recommendations of the Second United Nations Conference on the
Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, in particular those
relating to the promotion of the establishment and strengthening of
regional mechanisms of cooperation through the United Nations system;

      25.   Invites all Governments within the organizations of the
United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations
working in the field of outer space or on space-related matters to
take effective action for the implementation of the recommendations of
the Conference, and also invites the Secretary-General to report to
the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the implementation
of the recommendations of the Conference;

      26.   Notes with satisfaction that, in accordance with paragraph
30 of resolution 50/27 and in the context of paragraph 19 (c) above,
the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the
Pacific began its first education programme in April 1996 and that
significant progress has also been achieved in establishing regional
centres for space science and technology education in the other
regions covered by the regional commissions;

      27.   Notes that, pursuant to its recommendation in paragraph 33
of resolution 50/27, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, at its
thirty-third session, continued to discuss the possibility of holding
a third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses
of Outer Space before the turn of the century, and that the Committee
continued these discussions at its thirty-ninth session with a view to
making a final recommendation to the General Assembly at its
fifty-first session;

      28.   Endorses the recommendation of the Committee that a special
session of the Committee (UNISPACE III), open to all States Members of
the United Nations, should be convened at the United Nations Office at
Vienna, preferably in 1999, unless progress towards agreeing on an
agenda in the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee at its
thirty-fourth session makes it more appropriate to consider the year
2000; 13/

      29.   Requests the Committee and the Scientific and Technical
Subcommittee to act as the Preparatory Committee and the Advisory
Committee for UNISPACE III and the Office for Outer Space Affairs to
act as the executive secretariat; and also requests the Preparatory
Committee and the Advisory Committee to carry out the tasks entrusted
to them in paragraphs 178 to 185 of the report of the Committee 3/ and
to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the
progress made in the preparatory work for UNISPACE III; 

      30.   Recognizes the contribution of the Third Space Conference of
the Americas, held at Punta del Este, Uruguay, in 1996, towards
promoting regional cooperation in space activities, as well as the
meetings mentioned in paragraph 13 of the report of the
Secretary-General 1/ on the implementation of the recommendations of the
Second United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses
of Outer Space, 2/ and calls upon the regional commissions to support
those initiatives;

      31.   Recommends that more attention be paid to all aspects
related to the protection and the preservation of the outer space
environment, especially those potentially affecting the Earth's
environment;

      32.   Considers that it is essential that Member States pay more
attention to the problem of collisions of space objects, including
those with nuclear power sources, with space debris, and other aspects
of space debris, calls for the continuation of national research on
this question, for the development of improved technology for the
monitoring of space debris and for the compilation and dissemination
of data on space debris, and also considers that, to the extent
possible, information thereon should be provided to the Scientific and
Technical Subcommittee;

      33.   Urges all States, in particular those with major space
capabilities, to contribute actively to the goal of preventing an arms
race in  outer space as an essential condition for the promotion of
international cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space
for peaceful purposes;

      34.   Emphasizes the need to increase the benefits of space
technology and its applications and to contribute to an orderly growth
of space activities favourable to sustained economic growth and
sustainable development in all countries, particularly in the
developing countries;

      35.   Requests the Committee to continue to consider, as a matter
of priority, ways and means of maintaining outer space for peaceful
purposes, taking into account the views expressed at its thirty-ninth
session and at the fifty-first session of the General Assembly, and to
report thereon to the Assembly at its fifty-second session;

      36.   Also requests the Committee to continue to consider at its
fortieth session its agenda item entitled "Spin-off benefits of space
technology:  review of current status";

      37.   Endorses the decision of the Committee to grant permanent
observer status to the Planetary Society;

      38.   Requests the specialized agencies and other international
organizations to continue and, where appropriate, enhance their
cooperation with the Committee and to provide it with progress reports
on their work relating to the peaceful uses of outer space;

      39.   Requests the Committee to continue its work, in accordance
with the present resolution, to consider, as appropriate, new projects
in outer space activities, and to submit a report to the General
Assembly at its fifty-second session, including its views on which
subjects should be studied in the future.

                                                          83rd plenary meeting
                                                              13 December 1996


                                     Notes

1/    A/51/276.

2/    See Report of the Second United Nations Conference on the
Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Vienna, 9-21 August 1982
and corrigenda (A/CONF.101/10 and Corr.1 and 2).

3/    Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first Session,
Supplement No. 20 (A/51/20)

4/    Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the
Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other
Celestial Bodies (resolution 2222 (XXI), annex); Agreement on the
Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of
Objects Launched into Outer Space (resolution 2345 (XXII), annex);
Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space
Objects (resolution 2777 (XXVI), annex); Convention on Registration of
Objects Launched into Outer Space (resolution 3235 (XXIX), annex);
Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other
Celestial Bodies (resolution 34/68, annex).

5/    See Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first
Session, Supplement No. 20 (A/51/20), sect. II.C.

6/    See resolution 47/68.

7/    Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first Session,
Supplement No. 20 (A/51/20), sect. II.C.4.

8/    Ibid., sect. II.E.3.

9/    Ibid., sect. II.B.

10/   A/AC.105/605, para. 83.

11/   A/AC.105/637 and Corr.1, annex II.

12/   See A/AC.105/625, sect. I.

13/   See Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first
Session, Supplement No. 20 (A/51/20), sect. II.E.

 

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Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:55:20
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