EU Statement – United Nations 4th Committee: International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space
New York, 10/10/2017 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 171205_5
Statements on behalf of the EU
European Union Statement by H.E. Mr. Didier Lenoir, Head of EU Delegation to the International Organizations in Vienna, at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Fourth Committee, Agenda item 52: International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its 28 Member States. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Please, allow me to thank you Chair, as well as the Chair of COPUOS and the Director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs for their excellent work.
The European Union and its Member States have developed significant space related capacities and actions in key areas. These include:
global navigation and earth observation – through Galileo and Copernicus-,
space research – through our Horizon 2020 programme- and
space sustainability – through our Space Surveillance and Tracking services.
We believe that outer space is a global common good that can and should be used for the benefit of mankind.
Of key importance is the use of space for sustainable development. As recognised in the 2016 European Space Strategy, the space economy is an important motor for creating jobs and economic growth and space applications can make a significant contribution to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda. We should therefore work together to make sure that this tremendous potential of space is mobilised to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals to which we are all committed:
That is one of the reasons why our Galileo and Copernicus data are freely available. They should allow all end-users around the world to effectively use space applications, for instance to improve food production and pest control (SDG 2), to broaden the reach of health and education services (SDG 3 and 4), and to monitor and combat pollution and climate change (SDG 13, 14 and 15) as well as organised crime (SDG 16).
That is also why we applaud the efforts of UNOOSA to work towards an innovative approach to capacity building and to create a: ‘space solutions compendium’ that collects available space applications, and ‘space development profiles’ that identify know-how gaps on a country by country basis.
Equally important is the use of space for disaster management and response. Early warnings of upcoming extreme weather events, floods and forest fires help to save lives, increasingly so in the light of global warming. Reliable maps derived from satellite images help humanitarian actors and civil protection authorities to optimise their response to natural and man-made disasters all over the world. This is why we support intense cooperation and coordination between all international partners, including UN-SPIDER.
We should not underestimate the increasing importance of space for or daily lives. Nor should we underestimate the crucial need for us to collectively ensure that space remains a safe, secure and sustainable environment that can be used on an equitable and mutually acceptable basis and for peaceful purposes.
That is why we believe that there is an urgent need to increase international cooperation on a broad spectrum of space related issues. We see the upcoming UNISPACE + 50 meeting in June 2018 as an opportunity to sit together and to agree a concrete action agenda that can guide us in the coming years.
That is also why we are convinced that we must tackle the well-known potential dangers of extreme space weather events and of orbital debris, but also the threat of potentially destructive collisions and of a deliberate disruption or destruction of satellites.
We want to continue to work on Transparency and Confidence Building Measures and applaud the work of the COPUOS Working Group on Long Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities, which should complete its work by next summer.
Our long term goals are to increase international cooperation in space, establish standards of responsible behaviour across the full range of space activity, agree commitments to non-interference in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, facilitate equitable access to outer space and increase transparency of space activities.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.