The General Assembly today adopted a resolution that offers the global community a blueprint to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by tapping into the data, technology, innovative products and other tools gained through space exploration.
By the terms of the text, titled “The ‘Space2030’ Agenda: space as a driver of sustainable development”, the Assembly urges Member States to implement the Space2030 Agenda and work with other entities ‑ from non-governmental organizations to businesses ‑ to promote the use of space-based solutions. The resolution also aims to guarantee that the benefits derived from outer space exploration are open to all nations, regardless of their development.
In introducing the text, Romania’s representative said: “Space is becoming a permanent presence in common life and on the political agenda of Government and international organizations. The dependency of our civilization on space systems is proven and is of critical importance.” A 2018 Assembly resolution directed the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to develop this agenda, based on the results of the UNISPACE+50 process. The agenda was endorsed by the Committee in September by consensus.
The agenda has four overarching objectives wrapped around four pillars: space economy, space society, space accessibility and space diplomacy, Romania’s representative said. Space diplomacy aims to build partnerships and strengthen international cooperation so outer space is used peacefully and its activities governed globally.
The representative of the United Kingdom said the implementation plan for the Space2030 Agenda is key to helping Member States understand how to use space-based technology to realize the global goals. An initiative of the United Kingdom Space Agency uses its space sector’s capabilities in satellite technology and data services to develop space-enabled projects in partnership with developing countries, she said. So far, the programme has helped 47 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America tackle global development and resilience challenges in the areas of climate, food security, maritime safety, health, education and disaster management.
The speaker for Singapore said many space-based technologies support Government functions and everyday life, from monitoring weather patterns and environmental conditions to supporting telecommunications and public health. He agreed that access to space science, technology applications and space-based data can support achievement of the global goals. The international community must ensure space technology is used to provide equal opportunities to all by enhancing Internet connectivity and access to broadband technologies, especially in areas with less-developed infrastructure.
The representative of Nigeria said outer space and other celestial bodies “must be regarded as the common heritage of humankind”. The Space2030 Agenda is a positive way to guarantee outer space is open to all nations, regardless of their level of development. Outer space holds immense potential for both developed and developing countries, she said, calling on the United Nations to ensure equal and non-discriminatory access to outer space.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United States, Switzerland and Bangladesh.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, 28 October, to consider the annual report of the International Court of Justice and the report of the Secretary-General on his trust fund to assist States in the settlement of disputes through the Court.
Introduction of Draft Resolution
MARIUS-IOAN PISO (Romania) introduced the draft resolution titled “Space2030 Agenda: space as a driver of sustainable development and the implementation plan” (document A/76/L.3). He noted that in 2018, the Assembly mandated the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to keep developing, based on the results of the UNISPACE+50 process, a “Space2030” agenda and implementation plan and provide the Assembly with the outcome of its work. The Committee completed a three-year-long negotiation process that led in 2021 to the Space2030 Agenda: space as a driver of sustainable development and its implementation plan. This is contained in the draft resolution, he said, noting that the Committee endorsed the agenda by consensus at its sixty-fourth session on 1 September 2021.
The four overarching objectives are structured around four pillars, he said: space economy, space society, space accessibility and space diplomacy. One goal is to boost the economic benefits derived from space and strengthen the space sector’s role as a key driver of sustainable development while another aim is to harness space’s potential to solve everyday challenges and use space-related innovations to improve the quality of life. A third goal is to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by improving access to space for all and ensuring all countries can benefit socioeconomically from space science and technology applications and from space-based data, information and products. A fourth intention is to build partnerships and strengthen international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space and in the global governance of outer space activities.
Each overarching objective includes a set of actions that could be taken by Member States to realize those aims, he said. Each Member State would implement the Space2030 Agenda on a voluntary basis with strong emphasis placed on partnership and cooperation among Member States, United Nations entities, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and private sector entities. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs would serve as a conduit for promoting the use of spaced-based solutions and implement the agenda.
“Space is becoming a permanent presence in common life and on the political agenda of Government and international organizations,” he said, adding: “The dependency of our civilization on space systems is proven and is of critical importance.” He said the global space industry and services turnover averages $55 per capita per Earth citizen. He said he hoped that once the Assembly has taken action on the Space2030 Agenda it will serve as a blueprint for strengthening the use of space tools for sustainable development.
JOSHUA MATTHEW (Singapore) noted that many space-based technologies support Government functions and everyday life, from monitoring weather patterns and environmental conditions to supporting telecommunications and public health. Adding that space-based technologies have also been crucial in global efforts to Action analyse and address the effects of climate change, he said access to space science, technology applications and space-based data can support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The international community must work together to encourage the use of space technology in providing equal opportunities to all, he stressed, by enhancing Internet connectivity and access to broadband technologies, especially in areas with less-developed infrastructure. Lamenting, however, that proliferation of space activities has resulted in new challenges like space debris and orbital congestion, he said the international community must continue promoting the responsible and sustainable use of outer space in ensuring future generations enjoy its benefits.
SCOTT TURNER (United States) said that his country is pleased to co-sponsor the draft resolution, which is the culmination of several years of tireless work and embodies the spirit of compromise and international cooperation. He thanked the Chair and Vice Chairs of the Working Group for pushing work forward and finding areas of compromise. No doubt the process would have been more difficult without their guidance. The United States has been committed to this process since the outset, and it is pleased that the Committee put aside politics and brinksmanship to produce a document that demonstrates that even in the darkest of times, the international community can come together and work towards a common goal. The United States looks forward to engaging again with the international community on outer space issues, he said, underscoring the vital role of the United Nations in that process.
CHRISTIAN SCHLAEPFER (Switzerland), noting that space technologies offer unique services in meteorology and climate change, telemedicine, tele-education and emergency relief, as well as in urban and agricultural planning, said their applications are varied and, in some respects, irreplaceable. The “Space2030” programme aims to improve accessibility and promote the use of such applications in political decision-making as well as in day-to-day operational management. International cooperation plays a key role in harnessing the benefits of these technologies, he said, stressing that the Space2030 Agenda, with its impressive list of initiatives and actions, will allow all nations to contribute to ensuring that space activities benefit as many as possible. He welcomed the adoption of the “Space2030” programme, noting that Switzerland is a co-sponsor of the resolution.
Ms. FOWLER (United Kingdom) said the implementation plan for the Space2030 Agenda is a key tool to achieve a joint goal and will help Member States understand how to use space-based technology to realize the Sustainable Development Goals. The United Kingdom Space Agency’s award-winning initiative, the International Partnership Programme, uses its space sector’s capabilities in satellite technology and data services to develop space-enabled projects in partnership with developing countries. This delivers real benefits to people on the ground and, ultimately, makes the case for investment in space to policymakers. So far, the programme has benefitted 47 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America and tackled global development and resilience challenges in climate, food security, maritime safety, health, education and disaster management. The United Kingdom fully endorses the resolution and its contribution to ensuring the additional realization of the global goals, she said.
REGINA KUMASHE AONDONA (Nigeria), noting that her country was proud to represent Africa as the Committee’s First Vice Chair, said that outer space and other celestial bodies “must be regarded as the common heritage of humankind”. The adoption of the Space2030 Agenda and its implementation plan is a positive way forward to ensure that outer space is open to all nations, regardless of their level of development. Drawing attention to her country’s growing space capability, she said that outer space holds immense potential for both developed and developing countries. In that regard, she called on the United Nations to ensure equal and non-discriminatory access to outer space and for States to refrain from actions that are contrary to that objective.
MD SHOWEB ABDULLAH (Bangladesh) said ongoing developments in space technologies and applications can play an instrumental role in development, especially in Internet access and education. Adding that Bangladesh is preparing to launch its next communication satellite, he noted that disparity in access to space technologies is still high, especially in remote areas. The international community must ensure space technologies can benefit all, he said, as they can play a significant role in implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The General Assembly then adopted draft resolution A/76/L.3 without a vote.