This statement is delivered on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*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.
The EU is about to adopt a Space Programme for the years 2021 – 2027 to boost the EU space capabilities in the fields of navigation, Earth-observation, space situational awareness and governmental satellite communication.
In the context of recovery, the EU Space Programme will also address broader political priorities, such as fighting climate change, a transition to a low-carbon economy, smart mobility and digital economy, and will support a European ‘New Space' approach with innovative start-ups, increased technological autonomy as well as the procurement and aggregation of reliable and cost-effective launch solutions. It will contribute to the development of a space economy by offering openly and freely available data for further development in a variety of space applications.
The EU continues to promote the preservation of a safe, secure and sustainable space environment and the peaceful uses of outer space. We continue to stress the importance of transparency and confidence-building measures, the need to ensure responsible behaviour in outer space, and the need to strengthen commitments to avoid potentially harmful interference with the peaceful exploration and use of outer space.
In terms of the COPUOS matters, we express our satisfaction that COPUOS and consequently UN General Assembly adopted the preamble and 21 Guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. The EU will take steps to examine the implementation of these Guidelines in the EU Space Programme.
We also express our satisfaction with the fact that in June last year COPUOS decided to establish a 5 year Working Group under the agenda item "the LTS of outer space activities" of the Scientific and Technical Sub-Committee. This was another positive step in terms of considering sharing experience, practices and lessons learnt from implementation of adopted guidelines, and raising awareness and capacity-building, and considering new challenges for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, such as mega-constellations.
While we note with regret that it was not possible to reach consensus on the composition of the bureau of the Working Group during the last session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and thus the Working Group could not yet commence its work, we remain hopeful that the process will be concluded successfully in February next year in electing the bureau of the Working Group and the Working Group can subsequently begin to define its terms of reference, methods of work and work plan in accordance with its mandate and will be able to start its work in 2021.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.