NEED FOR ALL COUNTRIES TO HAVE ACCESS TO BENEFITS OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY STRESSED IN FOURTH COMMITTEE19971105 The need for all countries to have equal access to advances in space technology was among the matters stressed this afternoon, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) continued its consideration of matters pertaining to international cooperation in the peaceful uses of space.
The application of space technology was invaluable in efforts to resolve such problems as poverty, environmental degradation and dwindling energy resources, the representative of Indonesia told the Committee. He expressed the hope that the developed nations would make a greater commitment to sharing their knowledge and expertise with the rest of the world.
The representative of China said his country wished to pursue cooperation with both developed and developing countries. Each year, China provided three to five scholarships for training in remote-sensing, with a view to promoting capacity-building in developing countries with respect to space activities, he said.
The representative of India welcomed progress made by the Outer Space Committee in its efforts to ensure equitable access to the geostationary orbit by all States, taking into account the special needs of developing countries. He also cited the need to review the status of the five international treaties governing outer space.
Statements were also made by the representatives of the United States, Chile, Romania, Malaysia and Uruguay (for the Common Market of the Southern Cone, as well as Bolivia and Chile).
The Committee will meet again at 11 a.m. tomorrow, 6 November, to conclude its consideration of the peaceful uses of outer space and to take action on a related draft resolution.
Committee Work Programme
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon to continue its consideration of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. (For background, see Press Release GA/SPD/114 of 3 November.)
KENNETH HODGKINS (United States) said that the Outer Space Committee played a crucial role in advancing space cooperation and provided a unique forum for exchange of information on outer space. In view of the need to strengthen such cooperation, the Outer Space Committee must continue to improve, so it might continue to serve as an advocate for cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space.
The recent reform measures enacted by the Committee were highly welcome, he said. The Committee had made significant strides to make better use of United Nations resources. It would meet less, sessions would be shorter, and there would be fewer documents. Through such reforms, the Committee's conference costs had been reduced from $2.6 million to $1.5 million per biennium. The United States supported the upcoming Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), to be held in 1999. He was pleased to note that the goals of the Conference would be achieved within the existing resources of the Committee.
RAIMUNDO GONZALEZ (Chile) said that the owners of space technology were a privileged group of countries, but the potential beneficiaries of that technology were the whole of mankind. Chile had worked untiringly to bring about a qualitative change which would enable those "potential beneficiaries" to become actual beneficiaries.
The enormous benefits from the application of space technology affected such areas as natural resource prospecting, natural disaster mitigation, the monitoring of phenomena which affected the environment, telecommunications, and the supervision of compliance with disarmament treaties, he said. The scope of those benefits constituted a clear mandate to the international community to invoke its legitimate right to access to data which was crucially important to it.
Technology must be seen as a means of meeting the needs of present and future generations, based on shared values, he said. A working group comprising Chilean universities and other national institutions had been established to consider that principle. Work to that end had also been carried out by the remote-sensing centre of the University of Concepcion, the faculty of marine sciences of Valparaiso, and the space studies centre of the University of Chile.
Fourth Committee - 3 - Press Release GA/SPD/116 12th Meeting (PM) 5 November 1997
PETRU DUMITRIU (Romania) said his country had always supported efforts to establish regional training centres for space science and technology. He reiterated Romania's support for the recommendation in General Assembly resolution 50/27 calling for the establishment of such centres in affiliation with the United Nations.
He welcomed the progress made in discussions involving Bulgaria, Greece, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey on the establishment of a network of institutions for the teaching of space science and technology in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe. It was desirable that experts from the concerned countries would collaborate with the Office for Outer Space Affairs in establishing that network.
SUDJADNAN PARNOHADININGRAT (Indonesia) said that space science and technology represented an invaluable tool for resolving such problems facing mankind as the population explosion, with its associated problems of poverty, environmental degradation, dwindling energy resources, and the growing expectations of people worldwide for a better life.
He said that the Outer Space Committee's Working Group to review implementation of the UNISPACE II recommendations had submitted realistic and useful proposals for the Committee's consideration. Among them was the call for preparation of technical reports by the Office for Outer Space Affairs on preparatory activities for UNISPACE III.
Indonesia attached great importance to the United Nations Space Applications Programme, which organized workshops, courses and seminars to assist developing countries in their space application programmes, he said. However, owing to financial constraints, the UNISPACE II recommendations could not be fully implemented. It was hoped that the developed nations would make a greater commitment to cooperation programmes and to sharing their knowledge and expertise with the rest of the world.
GAO FENG (China) said his country was happy to note the continual advances and growing international cooperation in space activities, with an increasing number of countries attaching importance to the applications of space technology. The United Nations Space Applications Programme had made a useful contribution to the promotion and coordination of space activities. He called for even greater cooperation in space activities, based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit, complementarity and joint development. To that end, China's astronautical industry had entered into various technical cooperation and trade agreements with dozens of countries, resulting in effective multilateral and bilateral cooperation.
He said his country wished to pursue cooperation, not only with developed countries, but with developing countries as well. Each year, China provided three to five scholarships for training in remote-sensing, with a view to promoting capacity-building in developing countries with respect to
Fourth Committee - 4 - Press Release GA/SPD/116 12th Meeting (PM) 5 November 1997
space activities. China had progressed in the field of astronautics and now ranked as a world leader in such areas as recoverable satellites, low- temperature fuel rockets, and strap-on booster technology. It was also stepping up its research on new types of satellites.
ABDUL KHALID OTHMAN (Malaysia) said that the Outer Space Committee had a significant role to play in ensuring that space was maintained for peaceful purposes. Member States should take steps to make sure that it was able to fulfil its mandate. That could be achieved through the further development of international space law. Malaysia had established a national committee to review the status of its involvement with the five major outer space treaties, as part of an exercise focused on the formulation of national space laws.
He said that emphasis should be placed on transparency in outer space activities, as well as on the exchange of data and the equitable sharing of space benefits between developed and developing countries. In exploring the peaceful uses of space, activities which were sensitive or controversial should be subjected to careful examination. Malaysia considered the launching of human remains into space as highly controversial and immoral. There had been no study made of the environmental and social impacts of such a dreadful activity. Malaysia would welcome any explanations the Committee could offer on that issue.
JORGE PEREZ-OTERMIN (Uruguay), spoke on behalf of the Common Market of the Southern Cone (MERCOSUR) -- Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay -- as well as for Bolivia and Chile. He and those countries expressed great interest in the Outer Space Committee's work in the areas of space waste and the use of nuclear energy in outer space. They also appreciated the agreement reached on the basic goals of UNISPACE III. With the end of the cold war, confrontation in outer space activities had been replaced by a growing cooperation, not only among developed and underdeveloped countries, but also among those States that were starting their own space activities. The UNISPACE III would enhance such joint ventures.
S.K. SHINDE (India) said there was an urgent need to review the status of the five international treaties governing outer space. A good beginning had been made at the 1997 session of the Outer Space Committee, which endorsed the proposal for a new agenda item on reviewing the status of those treaties. India also welcomed the progress made towards ensuring equitable access to and efficient use of the geostationary orbit for all States, taking into account the special needs of developing countries.
More than four decades of concerted efforts by the global scientific community had paved the way for successful use of space systems for a variety of applications, he said. While striving to identify new areas of space technology development, India emphasized the need to get such benefits to the grass-roots level. All Member States, particularly those of the developing world, should be enabled to adopt and assimilate the technological breakthroughs in the field of space for their welfare and national development.
* *** *
Fourth Committee - 5 - Press Release GA/SPD/116 12th Meeting (PM) 5 November 1997