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UN-Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space 50th Session

To Discuss Space Exploration, International Cooperation in Space-Based Disaster Management, and Use of Satellite Technology for Sustainable Development
Celebrating its 50th anniversary and 50 years of space
achievements, the Committee prepared a number of special events,
including a High-level Panel on Space Exploration Activities, a
Symposium on Space and Water, video documentaries on the exploration
and peaceful uses of outer space and a multinational exhibition
entitled “50 Years of Space Achievements” with 30 States and international organizations exhibiting their achievements in space activities.
Topics on the agenda include “Ways
and means of maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes”, “Spin-off
benefits of space technology” and “Space and society” with the special
theme “Space and Education”.
The Committee also discussed
issues raised in the reports of its two Subcommittees – the Scientific
and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee – on their
sessions earlier this year. These include space debris mitigation
guidelines, a safety framework for nuclear power sources in outer space
and International Heliophysical Year 2007. At its historic 50th
session, the Committee placed an emphasis on its future role and
Space and Water
The Committee considered reports on regional and national water
resource management initiatives that involve the use of space
technology, in order to meaningfully contribute to meeting a target set
in the Millennium Development Goal 7 which calls for “cutting in half, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”. A symposium on “Space and Water” was held on Monday 11 June.
Use of space-derived geospatial data for sustainable development
This is a new agenda item that the Committee considered under a
multi-year work plan from 2007 to 2009. At the current session, the
Committee identified and assess the interfaces among existing
international fora where countries discuss the implementation of
space-derived geospatial data infrastructures, in order to avoid
duplication of international cooperative efforts.
Space-System-Based Disaster Management Support
The Committee considered the implementation of the newly
established United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for
Disaster Management and Emergency Response (SPIDER), including
satellite-based data, training and capacity building facilities as well
as offices in Beijing, China, and in Bonn, Germany, which enabled
the new programme to begin its activities.
Practice of States and International Organizations in Registering Space Objects
COPUOS considered a set of elements of conclusions of the
Working Group on the practice of States and international organizations
in registering space objects, adopted by the Legal Subcommittee earlier
this year and its possible transformation into a General Assembly
High-level Panel on Space Exploration Activities
The High-level Panel provided an opportunity for Members of
the Committee to discuss the multitude of motivations for and aspects
of ongoing and planned space exploration activities as well as the
possible future role the United Nations system could play in providing
a forum for space-faring and space-using countries alike to consider
space exploration related issues. The panel, including high level
representatives of space agencies, was held on Wednesday, 6 June.
Exhibition “50 Years of Space Achievements”
The session of the Committee coincided with the opening of a
multinational exhibition entitled “50 years of Space Achievements”,
with 30 States and international organizations exhibiting their
achievements in space activities. The exhibition was held at the UN
headquarters in Vienna for the entire month of June and can be viewed
as part of a guided tour. In addition, a multimedia bus on Space
Weather, which is on a tour through Europe, was displayed on the
Plaza of the UN headquarters in Vienna for the duration of the
Committee‘s session.
COPUOS has the following 67 Member States: Albania, Algeria,
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria,
Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba,
Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,
India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon,
Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua,
Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic
of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra
Leone, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Thailand,
Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and
Viet Nam.
The following inter-governmental and non-governmental
organizations have permanent observer status with COPUOS: Association
of Space Explorers, Committee on Earth Observation Satellites,
Committee on Space Research, Regional Centre for Remote Sensing of the
North African States, Eurisy, European Space Agency, European Space
Policy Institute, International Academy of Astronautics, International
Astronautical Federation, International Astronomical Union,
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, International Law
Association, International Mobile Satellite Organization, Intersputnik
International Organization of Space Communications, International
Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, International Space
University, National Space Society, Space Generation Advisory Council,
Spaceweek International Association and The Planetary Society.
The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS)
was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to review the scope of
international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, to
devise programmes in this field to be undertaken under United Nations
auspices, to encourage continued research and the dissemination of
information on outer space matters and to study legal problems arising
from the exploration of outer space. COPUOS and its two Subcommittees
each meet annually to consider questions put before them by the General
Assembly, reports submitted to them and issues raised by the Member
States. The Committee and its Subcommittees, working on the basis of
consensus, make recommendations to the General Assembly.
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA)
implements the decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee
on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the
Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The
Office is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the
peaceful uses of outer space, and assisting developing countries in
using space science and technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA
maintains a website at
For information contact:
Romana Kofler
Associate Programme Officer
Telephone: +43 1 26060-4962
Further information on the 50th session: COPUOS