|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
8th Meeting (AM)
Fourth Committee Affirms Relevance of University for Peace in Draft Resolution,
Begins Annual Consideration of Outer Space Issues
Speakers, Stressing Need for Cooperation in Venue’s Peaceful Uses,
Warn Legal System on Outer Space ‘Not Robust Enough’ to Prevent Weaponization
At a time when the world was becoming “more confined and dangerous than ever before”, the work of the University for Peace in bringing humanity closer to a peaceful planet had become even more relevant, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) heard today before it approved by consensus a draft resolution on the University.
By the terms of that text, introduced by the representative of Costa Rica on behalf of its many co-sponsors, the General Assembly would request that the Secretary-General expand the scope for using the University as part of his conflict-resolution and peacebuilding efforts through the training of staff, especially those concerned with peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The Committee’s consideration of the University for Peace takes place every three years.
Education was one of the most powerful forces in the world, profoundly affecting the way human beings thought in decisive moments as well as throughout their lives, said John J. Maresca, the University’s Rector. He highlighted innovations, such as online programmes and multilingual courses of study, through which the University was reaching out to more and more young people with its message of peace. A “dynamic, creative, cutting-edge institution”, the University was playing a leadership role among the world’s educational institutions, he said.
Yet, balancing its budget every year remained a challenge, he said. “The University for Peace needs your help,” he added, imploring delegates for donations as well as political support. Students, especially from the developing world, needed scholarships to continue their studies. Member States had a profound responsibility to assist the mission of the University. “Consider what your country can do for education for peace,” he said.
The Committee then began its consideration of the subject of outer space, with delegates emphasizing the need to enhance cooperation between spacefaring nations and emerging space nations. Yasushi Horikawa, said that the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which he chaired, was at the forefront in bringing the world together in using space technology for peaceful purposes. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), he noted, had acknowledged that improved scientific understanding of the space environment and improved access to geospatial data were valuable to enable more informed decision-making on a variety of issues.
Echoing the widespread call in the Fourth Committee for cooperation, the representative of Cuba cautioned against turning outer space into the “theatre of an arms race”. The legal provisions now in force on outer space were insufficient to ensure that. She called on the Conference on Disarmament to play the main role in negotiating a multilateral agreement to prevent the militarization of space.
Agreeing that the current legal system on outer space was “not robust enough” to prevent the placing of weapons in outer space, the representative of Guatemala stated that the problem of limited geostationary orbits might result in disputes in outer space. Regardless of their current level of technology, geostationary orbits must be available to all countries.
Data collected by satellites, he said, could aid greatly in other crucial sustainability issues, including monitoring climate change and the use of water resources. Developing countries must have “timely and unimpeded access” to such data in order to employ it appropriately.
To ensure “safety, security and sustainability” in outer space, the European Union, said its representative, had launched a proposal for an international code of conduct. The code, which all member States would be invited to discuss, was based on three principles: freedom for all to use outer space for peaceful purposes, preservation of the security and integrity of space objects in orbit and due consideration for the legitimate security and defence needs of States.
Progress in the field of space technology was difficult to achieve alone, delegates heard again and again. The high level of resources demanded by space programmes required international cooperation, the representative of Israel stated, highlighting one such effort — the Venus Project — which would allow Israel and France to develop and operate an observation satellite that would provide highly accurate data to assist with “precision farming” and help to optimize agriculture and aquaculture.
Citing yet another example of international cooperation in space technology, the representative of Thailand recalled that satellite mapping had played a crucial role in flood relief in his country the previous year. Space science and technology could help, not only to protect the environment, but also to improve living conditions and create more economic opportunities.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Uruguay, Cote d’Ivoire, Brazil, Japan and Mexico.
The Fourth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 18 October, to continue its consideration of the peaceful uses of outer space.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to consider its items on the University for Peace and the peaceful use of outer space.
For the first, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General outlining the activities of the University for Peace, which continued its expansion while pursuing the mandate accorded to it by the General Assembly in 1980 (document A/67/272). Key developments during the 2010-2012 period included the donation of a second campus in Costa Rica and the launch of a full online master’s degree programme in sustainable peace in the contemporary world. Further, the University was now offering two new master’s programmes in subjects including responsible management and sustainable economic development. Another highlight was the introduction of Spanish-language courses and the launch of a doctoral programme.
Also, the report notes, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair was established with the University and its on-campus partner, Earth Charter International. The latter body constructed a new building on campus. The University opened a new centre in The Hague and a joint programme with the University of California, Berkeley, while the first students enrolled at the Asia-Pacific Centre in Seoul. The University’s capacity-building programmes in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia had produced peace studies programmes in 26 universities in those regions.
These achievements notwithstanding, the University faces challenges in financing its programmes and in achieving recognition, the report says. As very few Member States had provided support to date, the institution was cutting corners and deferring the improvements needed, in order to remain within its limited budget. Further, the world economic downturn had gravely harmed the ability of students to pursue their studies.
The related draft resolution on the University for Peace (document A/C.4/67/L.6) would have the General Assembly request the Secretary-General, in view of the University’s important work and its potential role in developing new approaches to security through education, training and research, in order to respond effectively to emerging threats to peace, to consider ways to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations system and expand the scope for using the University’s services as part of conflict-resolution and peacebuilding efforts through staff training.
Further to the text, the Assembly would call upon Member States that had not already done so to accede to the International Agreement for the Establishment of the University for Peace, and encourage them, as well as intergovernmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, interested individuals and philanthropists to contribute to the University’s programmes and core budget to enable it to continue to perform its valuable work worldwide.
The Committee also had before it the report of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (document A/67/20), which summarizes the outcome of its fifty-fifth session, from 6 to 15 June. During that session, the Committee discussed ways and means of maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes; implementation of the recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space; spin-off benefits of space technology, space and society, space and water, space and climate change, and the use of space technology in the United Nations system. The Committee also discussed the forty-ninth session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the fifty-first of the Legal Subcommittee.
The report emphasizes that the Committee, through its work in the scientific, technical and legal fields, continued to play a fundamental role in ensuring that outer space was maintained for peaceful purposes and towards the betterment of all humanity. It finds that developing countries, in particular, could benefit from space technology, and that international, regional and interregional cooperation was essential to strengthening their space capabilities. In addition to furthering sustainable industrial development, space systems played an increasingly large role in risk assessment, early warning and disaster management, the report adds.
University for Peace
Introducing the report, JOHN J. MARESCA, Rector of the University for Peace, stated that education was one of the most powerful forces in the world, profoundly affecting the way human beings think in decisive moments as well as throughout their lives. Education must reinforce the values shared by the international community, including human rights for all, mutual respect for all cultures and peaceful settlement of disputes. Education could bring humanity closer to a peaceful planet and, in 1980, when the General Assembly established the University for Peace, that was what the United Nations had set out to do.
He went on to say that the University’s work was even more relevant today at a time when the world was becoming more confined and dangerous than ever before. As the report illustrated, the University was responding to that need through innovation and outreach, and it was reaching more and more young people every year with its message of peace. It was also broadening the scope of its study programmes by offering some in Spanish and English, as well as new courses, such as in urban issues. It was creating University centres in different parts of the world, enabling institutions elsewhere to reach people in their regions more easily. Further, it was carrying out capacity-building with partner universities and was now offering short training programmes and online master’s degree programmes. In short, the University for Peace had become a “dynamic, creative, cutting-edge institution that was playing a leadership role among educational institutions around the world”.
“But UPeace needs your help,” he emphasized, adding that Member States had a profound responsibility to assist it in its mission. Each year, the University balanced its budget with difficulty. Scholarships were crucial, especially for students from the developing world, who could otherwise not continue their studies. Governments could support the University financially through donations, or politically, by signing its charter. “Consider what your country can do for education for peace,” he added. It was time for the University to recruit a new Rector, he said, adding that during his five years at the helm, the University had made excellent progress, despite the world economic crisis. It was vital to support the new Rector because the extraordinary institution was working in the international community’s interests.
EDUARDO ULIBARRI ( Costa Rica) said it was an honour to submit the draft resolution on the University for Peace, L.6, on behalf of Argentina, Armenia, Chile, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Belize, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Greece, Guyana, Honduras, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and his own country, Costa Rica. He said the text of the draft was an update of resolution A/RES/64/83, which had been adopted by the General Assembly in 2009. The present text included updated statistics and noted the progress achieved since 2010. The sponsors sought its consensus approval.
He said that the University for Peace, established by the General Assembly, had the mission of being an international higher education institution for peace. Its purpose was to promote a spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence among persons and nations, and to help overcome obstacles and threats to peace. It contributed to those objectives through teaching, research, training and the dissemination of basic knowledge, using an interdisciplinary approach.
He said it was a great honour for Costa Rica that the University was located there, and he viewed it as an acknowledgement of his country’s dedication to peace and democracy. The fact that his country hosted the University meant that Costa Rica had the “happy duty” of cooperating actively in its institutional and academic development. Despite the difficult current financial situation, which had persisted over the last few years, the University had managed to deepen its contribution to peace and universal understanding. Among other recent accomplishments was its first doctoral programme on studies in peace and conflict and the commencement of Spanish courses.
Given the institution’s many contributions, it deserved increased support, he said. In particular, its training of United Nations staff in conflict resolution and peacebuilding should be promoted. Costa Rica urged Member States to subscribe to the International Agreement for the Establishment of the University for Peace and, together with foundations and philanthropic organizations, to contribute to its programmes and budget.
MARTÍN VIDAL (Uruguay), expressing gratitude for the constant support offered by the host country, Costa Rica, noted the University’s valuable contributions to preventive diplomacy and peacekeeping. By taking students from every part of the world, it was manifesting the joint intention of the international community to promote a culture of mutual understanding. Since the institution’s ideals dovetailed with the basic principles of Uruguay’s foreign policy, his country continued to support it and it had been an early signatory to its charter. Uruguay welcomed strong action to revitalize the University and supported the draft resolution before the Committee. The University was coming up against considerable challenges and by approving the text by consensus, the Fourth Committee would send an unequivocal message that the international community must enable it to develop to its full potential.
YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA ( Côte d’Ivoire) said that his delegation, as a co-sponsor of the draft resolution, wished to associate with the statement by Costa Rica and voice his full support for the text. The quest for peace lay at the very heart of the basis of both his country and the United Nations. The academic approach of the University contributed, no doubt, to promoting cooperation among peoples while reducing obstacles to peace and progress throughout the world. As a result, Côte d’Ivoire, which was slowly emerging from a long and painful crisis, adhered without any reservations to its mission. To resolve the “infernal cycle” of conflict in Africa, States should erect “solid bulwarks”, and peace and dialogue should be used fully. The setting up of a truth and reconciliation commission in the Côte d’Ivoire was part and parcel of the collective exercise to create the conditions for a return to lasting peace.
He said it was also necessary to look at the issues “more upstream” — such as training and education for peace. He welcomed the cooperation that existed between the University and a number of African States, noting, for example, that the University had set up an Africa programme to elaborate a plan of action in line with the needs and obstacles to building peace on the continent. The conflicts in developing States could not be resolved solely by the international community’s interventions; other paths should be explored. The University stressed the value of education in peacebuilding and strengthened the capacities to teach, train and undertake research in conflict resolution, while taking into account and adapting to the local conditions.
At a time when his Government was proceeding to reopen universities in the country, it was beneficial to have a rapprochement with the University for Peace to expedite the rebirth of Ivorian society.
Next, acting without a vote, the Committee approved draft resolution L.6, on the University for Peace.
Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
YASUSHI HORIKAWA (Japan), speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space for the period 2012-2013, recalled numerous milestones in its work, which signified the importance of its common endeavour. Space exploration and advances in space science and research were fundamental pillars for the operational use of space technology and its applications. Indeed, research and development in space science and technology were a fundamental prerequisite for any space application for the benefit of human development on Earth, for protecting and preserving the planet and its space environment, and for exploring the Universe. The Outer Space Committee was at the forefront in bringing the world together in using that technology for peaceful purposes.
He said that while the Outer Space Committee had continuously striven to increase awareness of the use of space technology applications, there were presently major challenges facing humanity. Disasters struck in all parts of the world, demonstrating repeatedly societies’ vulnerability against the forces of nature and the importance of building capacity to mitigate the devastating effects of those natural events. He expressed his appreciation to all countries for their help to the victims, following the great east Japan earthquake and tsunami. It had become clear that the loss of life and property could have been reduced with better preventive measures and better information, had that been available through improved risk assessment, early warning and monitoring.
In that, he said, the integrated and coordinated use of space technologies and their applications could play a crucial role by providing accurate and timely information and communication support. Challenges, including global climate change, food security and global health were interlinked with disasters, requiring a holistic approach to their resolution. Meeting those challenges would be facilitated if efforts were made to ensure a systematic, timely and adapted integration of the space-based technology applications of remote sensing satellite telecommunication and global navigation satellite systems to multi-source geospatial datasets.
Following the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the United Nations system task team on the post-2015 United Nations development agenda had presented a report to the Secretary-General, titled “Realizing the Future We Want for All”, which acknowledged, among other things, the importance of improved scientific understanding of the space environment and of improved access to geographical information and geospatial data for more accurate environmental and social impact assessments and more informed decision-making at all levels. He detailed the Outer Space Committee’s extensive past and ongoing work to strengthen the international legal regime governing the use of outer space. Those efforts had resulted in improved conditions for expanding international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. The Office for Outer Space Affairs was playing an outstanding role. Similarly, international organizations in the space field were of major importance to the Committee’s efforts to promote space activities at various levels. He also highlighted the positive role of regional mechanisms in providing platforms for enhanced coordination between space-faring nations and emerging space nations.
NORACHIT SINHASENI (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the association’s member States were convinced that the application of space science and technology could contribute significantly to sustainable development by helping to improve living conditions, create more economic opportunities, improve access to information for all and protect the environment. He encouraged the Outer Space Committee to continue to explore ways to integrate space technologies in the implementation of the recommendations of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
Noting that the ASEAN region was prone to natural disasters, he said that its Subcommittee on Space Technology and Application had focused heavily on developing space science and technology applications for disaster management, specifically for an effective early warning system aided by the establishment of ASEAN’s Earth Observation Satellite by 2015. The satellite would provide critical and high-quality data for research and early warning, which would improve overall risk assessment. At the same time, ASEAN was concerned about space debris. It thus supported the work of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee in its thorough consideration of that subject.
Expressing deep appreciation for the assistance offered to his country by Member States and international agencies during last year’s floods, which had affected millions of people in Thailand, he said that space technology, especially mapping, had played a crucial role in flood relief. Further, as an Outer Space Committee member, Thailand had organized several training modules and conferences to promote knowledge on space technology and its application, by targeting public- and private-sector personnel as well as academic institutions.
MARIA TERESA MESQUITA PESSÔA (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), underscored the importance of the peaceful uses of outer space, saying all of mankind should benefit from such knowledge. In the Rio+20 outcome document, States recognized the importance of space technology data in elaborating sustainable development policies and supporting developing countries in data collection. The Outer Space Committee had made it possible to enshrine those principles at the Rio+20 Conference.
Democratic governance of outer space, she added, was crucial to ensure that the information flows and sensing systems were effective and reliable. Regional and interregional cooperation in outer space was fundamental in that regard, and MERCOSUR supported the General Assembly Declaration on International Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for the Benefit and in the Interest of All States, Taking into Particular Account the Needs of Developing Countries.
The greatest threat to the long-term sustainable development of outer space, she said, was the prospect of an outer space arms race. In order to counter that, constructive measures for confidence-building and transparency were necessary. Multilateralism in the legal framework provided by the United Nations would guarantee that, and MERCOSUR, therefore, attributed great value to the role played by the United Nations bodies in universalizing and updating space technology and information. Reminding the delegates that article 3 of the Outer Space Treaty stated that space activities must be carried out in accordance with the United Nations Charter, she underscored the conclusions of the Outer Space Committee in its report and confirmed that body’s fundamental role as guarantor of the use of outer space for peaceful purposes and for international dialogue on the subject.
MERCOSUR shared the view of the Outer Space Committee that international and regional cooperation was essential to strengthening assistance to States in capacity building in space science and technology, she said. Regional cooperation was of singular importance to MERCOSUR and, in that regard, she welcomed the agreement between the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the National Space Activities Commission of Argentina to establish a new headquarters for the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response in Latin America to provide training and information on the use of satellite technology in disaster management.
CARL HALLERGARD, European Union delegation, said that over the last decades, the Outer Space Committee had laid down a firm legal basis for all forms of space activities that provided for the application of international law and promotion of international cooperation and understanding in the peaceful uses of outer space, the dissemination and exchange of information through transnational direct television broadcasting via satellites and remote satellite observations of Earth, and general standards regulating the safe use of nuclear power sources for the exploration and use of outer space. He commended the significant works currently undertaken under the Outer Space Committee’s auspices.
Underlining a major area of progress, he drew attention to the final report of the working group on national legislation relevant to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, which was an excellent analysis of the current status and development of national space legislation and regulatory frameworks. He supported the idea of submitting the document to the current General Assembly session, in order to give more visibility to the “positive and concrete” Outer Space Committee outcomes. He also welcomed the decision of the Legal Subcommittee to include the “General exchange of information on national legislation on the peaceful exploration and use of outer space” as a regular item in its agenda from 2013 onward. The second area of progress concerned the effective launch of the working group on long-term sustainability of outer space activities, whose results would be of key importance for upcoming sessions. Improving and rationalizing the work of the Committee and Subcommittee was a key element to achieving significant progress on its substantial agenda, and he was ready to explore concrete proposals in that regard, including the reallocation of resources on an experimental basis.
Turning briefly to the topic of the use of space systems for socioeconomic applications, he said that satellites were assuming growing importance in everyday life, from security to natural resource management. He welcomed the work achieved so far by the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response as a dedicated mechanism set up to use space systems for natural disaster relief.
Over the last 50 years, he said, Europe had developed strong and unique space capacities, which placed it among the leading spacefaring nations, allowing it to take part in major space endeavours. The first priority for the European Space Policy was global navigation and Earth observation. He highlighted some important developments in those areas, including the launch of two new satellites in 2012. He noted that space exploration was now a political and global endeavour, and said that Europe undertook its action within a worldwide programme.
Space was a driver for economic growth and innovation for the benefit of all people, he said. Space addressed major challenges such as climate change, scarce resources, health and aging, as well as boosted the competitiveness of industry well beyond the space sector. It, thereby, contributed to job creation and economic growth worldwide. The key challenge was to ensure that space activities were undertaken in a sustainable manner. Towards that goal, the European Union considered it necessary to ensure greater safety, security and sustainability in outer space — including addressing the risks posed by space debris — and believed in a pragmatic and incremental process to achieve those objectives.
In that regard, the European Union had launched a proposal for an international code of conduct for outer space activities, which was based on three principles: freedom for all to use outer space for peaceful purposes, preservation of the security and integrity of space objects in orbit and due consideration for the legitimate security and defence needs of States. Wide consultations had taken place since 2010 on the draft, and he was pleased that key spacefaring nations had expressed their support for it. Following the discussion that had taken place in June on the initiative, it had been decided that a first multilateral experts meeting would be held to discuss the draft. All Member States were invited to participate. The aim was to reach an agreement on a text that would be acceptable to all interested States and which would bring effective security benefits in a relatively short term. The final version would be open to participation by all States on a voluntary basis at an ad hoc diplomatic conference.
YESSIKA COMESAÑA PERDOMO ( Cuba) said it was important to unite and redouble efforts to prevent outer space from becoming the “theatre of an arms race”, which would endanger humanity’s very existence. The legal provisions in force on outer space were, as yet, insufficient to ensure the prevention of an outer space arms race. The Conference on Disarmament must play the main role in negotiating a multilateral agreement to prevent the militarization of space and the deployment of nuclear arms there. The Outer Space Committee also had a role to play.
She said her country, despite the economic difficulties besetting it, which were largely the result of a “cruel economic and commercial blockade”, still maintained an interest in the research and application of space for peaceful purposes, particularly for the purpose of weather forecasting and the monitoring of hurricanes and forest fires. That contributed to a considerable reduction in the loss of human life. It was the right of all States to explore and use outer space for the benefit of humanity, but it was not always viable technologically or economically for all States to exercise that right. As more States participated in outer space activities, more bilateral and multilateral cooperation was urgently needed, in particular, regarding the exchange of experience and technology with developing countries.
The relationship between the Outer Space Committee and the Commission on Sustainable Development must be strengthened, she said. In that respect, Cuba valued the contributions of the Committee to the Rio+20 Conference, and hoped that that those facilitate the application of space technology for development. Cuba shared the view that climate change and food security must be examined within the context of the Outer Space Committee. In conclusion, she emphasized the need to make progress in cooperation between countries, without discrimination, in order to take advantage of the unlimited possibilities outer space had to offer.
GABRIEL ORELLANA ZABALZA ( Guatemala) said that bilateral and multilateral agreements on space exploration could help the international community to optimize the use of outer space for the benefit of future generations and to ensure security in outer space. The current legal system on outer space was not robust enough to prevent the placing of weapons in outer space, he said, calling for further development of the international law on outer space to prevent its militarization. One of the principal methods of ensuring sustainability in outer space was the reduction of space debris, and international endeavours must continue to focus on that.
Noting that geostationary orbits were a limited natural resource with risk of saturation, he said his country believed that geostationary orbits must be available to all countries regardless of their current level of technology. Greater synergy was needed for the implementation of United Nations treaties regulating outer space. By implementing international provisions, it would be possible to prevent possible disputes in outer space activities.
Problems connected with water had become a serious issue with political repercussions, he said, adding that appropriate use of water resources was important for the entire international community. Data obtained from space could help to inform decisions on water management, but for many developing countries, it was difficult to obtain the necessary data. There was no denying that climate change had a negative effect on all regions. Satellite monitoring carried out by various countries was extremely valuable, and Guatemala supported international cooperation on that question. Developing countries must have “timely and unimpeded access” to data collected by satellites. There was an opportunity to strengthen worldwide action to mitigate the effects of climate change.
AHARON RAM ( Israel) said that, in the past few decades, the world had witnessed significant developments in the areas of space research and exploration and the number of countries developing space programs was growing. However, that progress in this field was difficult to achieve alone, and many countries found it hard to sustain their space endeavours, owing to the high level of resources space programmes demanded. Entering into international cooperation with others was recommended, therefore, especially during an economic downturn.
He said Israel’s national civil space programme focused on the study of space utilization for securing life on Earth, and the Israeli Space Agency pursued a mission of peaceful outer space cooperation by promoting innovative scientific projects based on international collaboration. The Space Agency had signed cooperation agreements with sister agencies from various countries worldwide and continued to expand links with foreign partners. Among the country’s recent space-related activities, was the Venus Project, undertaken with France. Entitled “Vegetation and Environmental Monitoring New Micro-Satellite”, it would enable the two countries to develop, manufacture and operate an observation satellite containing multi-spectral cameras. That, in turn, would provide highly accurate data and allow for the monitoring, analysis and modelling of land surface to assist with “precision farming” and help to optimize agriculture and aquaculture. Israel also maintained a partnership in that connection with the United States, Italy and the Russian and European space agencies.
The Israeli private sector, he noted, contributed significantly to the global space industry, he said, highlighting a company that specialized in mini-communication satellite stations and provided rural communication service to several countries. As of today, Israel had successfully launched 15 satellites and had 11 satellites in orbit. In addition, the country produced a wide range of space products such as optical and communication satellites, cameras and components, propulsion systems and launchers.
SAORI NAGAHARA ( Japan), in her national capacity, said that space-based technologies had become indispensable in providing telecommunication, earth observation and navigation serves. Japan’s earthquake and tsunami were a reminder of how important those technologies were for disaster management. Her country viewed efficient international cooperation as the key to the development and maintenance of proper space activities. In that regard, the Outer Space Committee was a unique platform to enhance global governance for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. Exchanging views allowed the international community to seek common ground on a range of issues, including preservation of space. She encouraged discussions in the Outer Space Committee on securing the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. In order to enhance understanding on that issue, Japan was preparing to organize an international workshop on the protection of the space environment, to take place in December, in Malaysia.
She said the Outer Space Committee could also effectively contribute to tackling global issues, such as sustainable development, and she stressed the importance of following up on its contributions to Rio+20. She explained the recent restructuring of her country’s space policy formulation, which, she said, was expected to lead to a more strategic use of outer space for peaceful purposes under the application of the relevant international laws. The Office of National Space Policy had been established in the Cabinet Office as the leading policy coordination body with related ministries. Japan regularly sent Japanese astronauts to the International Space Station, and the third Japanese cargo ship completed its mission last month. She reiterated her country’s strong commitment to global cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
VICTOR MANUEL GENINA ( Mexico) stated that given the growing threats to international security, it was important that space remain open so that all States could use it for peaceful purposes. The applications of space technology had proliferated recently, thanks to advancements in science. Access to space technology could foster a greater understanding between the peoples of the world. The joint use and deployment of space science and technology could provide benefits in a wide range of areas from health to environment to food security, to name a few. Given the growing interconnections between those areas, it was necessary to reduce the digital divide through greater cooperation.
He called on Member States to accede to United Nations treaties on outer space and to meet the commitments laid down in relevant General Assembly resolutions. The Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Latin America and the Caribbean was fundamental in teaching and sharing space knowledge. Further, the prevention of an arms race in outer space was crucial, and he invited all Member States to commit to the goals of the Outer Space Committee.
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