The General Assembly declared 4 to 10 October World Space Week in order to celebrate each year at the international level the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition.

4 October 1957 was the date of the launch into outer space of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, thus opening the way for space exploration, and the 10th of October 1967 was the date of the entry into force of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.

Space science and technology and their applications are increasingly being used to support a wide range of United Nations activities. At least 25 United Nations entities and the World Bank Group routinely use space applications. They make important and sometimes essential contributions to the work of the United Nations, including in the implementation of recommendations of major world conferences and those of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), and in efforts towards sustainable development.

As a consequence, coordination, cooperation and synergy are essential for those activities to be effectively carried out by the United Nations system. The annual sessions of the Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities are the main means of achieving that synergy. The effectiveness of the Meeting has been further enhanced by the holding, since 2004, of an open informal session immediately after the end of the Meeting, as a means of engaging Member States, in a direct and informal setting, in important space-related developments in the United Nations system. The agenda of the Inter-Agency Meeting is reviewed at each session and adapted to current operational needs.