Wednesday, June 10, 2015

At annual meeting, UN committee on outer space issues renews focus on sustainability and climate change

UN,  10 June 2015 – The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space opened its annual session in Vienna today with the role of sustainability and climate change in outer space activities taking centre stage, the United Nations space agency has reported.

In a press release issued by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the UN agency confirmed that, for the first time in its history, the Committee would address transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities and how they relate to the safety of space operations and the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

According to UNOOSA, the Committee will also engage in “a preparatory exploration” of the topics set to be covered during a joint ad hoc meeting of the First and Fourth Committees of the General Assembly in late October which will, in turn, place the report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Transparency and Confidence-building Measures in Outer Space Activities at the centre of all considerations.

In addition, a side event hosted on 11 June by the Government of France will see experts address delegations on the role played by satellites in confronting climate change as well as how space can contribute to understanding global warming and how to help societies mitigate its consequences.

Consideration of space and development at the current session of the Committee builds upon the outcome of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, widely known as ‘Rio+20,’ in which Governments recognized the importance of space-derived data.

To that point, the Committee’s Working Group on the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Affairs will continue to negotiate a set of voluntary guidelines, which, when finalized, is expected to provide a foundation for national and international practices and safety frameworks for conducting outer space activities.

The Committee’s session, which runs through 17 June, will also host Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his historic mission as the first human to walk in space.

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