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Erstellt am 10.06.2003 von Andreas Hermann Landl
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UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION SERVICE VIENNA (UNIS) – For information only – not an official document:


The Implementation of UNISPACE III Recommendations, a Draft Resolution on
the Concept Of the „Launching State“ and Other Issues Are to Be Discussed

VIENNA, 6 June (UN Information Service) — At the upcoming forty-sixth
session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) two
main topics are to be considered. Firstly, the implementation of the
recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration
and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III). Secondly, issues raised
in the reports of the two Subcommittees ? the Scientific and Technical
Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee — at their sessions earlier this
year, in particular the use of nuclear power sources in Outer Space,
problems related to space debris, and a proposed draft resolution on the
concept of the „launching State“.

COPUOS was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to review the scope of
international cooperation in 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
the Subcommittees, working on the basis of consensus, make recommendations
to the General Assembly.

Report on Implementation of UNISPACE III Recommendations

The Committee is preparing a report to the General Assembly for a „plus
5“ review of the implementation of the recommendations of UNISPACE III,
which will take place in 2004. The report will be based on the input of
action teams, UN system organizations and NGOs working in areas related to
Outer Space. UNISPACE III was the third large United Nations Conference on
the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, held in Vienna in 1999.
The Conference identified specific ways in which space science and
technology could help solve problems on Earth. The UNISPACE III
recommendations included using remote sensing to protect the environment;
facilitating and utilising communications; improving and using positioning
and location capabilities; furthering knowledge and building capacity;
enhancing education and training opportunities for youth; and promoting
international cooperation, particularly in the development and exchange of

The Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space

Another important issue that is likely to be raised, based on the report
of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, is the use of nuclear power
sources in Outer Space. The Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, during
its session earlier this year, adopted a four-year work plan for the period
2003-2006, aimed at starting the process of developing an international
framework of goals and recommendations for the safety of nuclear power
sources in Outer Space, in order to provide a common basis for the safety
of such applications, and to enhance confidence of the international
community that States are adhering to the appropriate safety objectives.

Space debris

Included in the report of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee will
be the issue of space debris. Space debris is made up of retired satellites
and other fragments of various origins, and could potentially cause
problems for future space missions ? in particular through the danger of
collision. This is particularly the case where nuclear power sources are on
board. The Subcommittee, during its last session, began a review of
proposals for mitigating space debris, which were presented to the
Subcommittee by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee.

United Nations Programme on Space Applications

The Committee will consider the review of the United Nations Programme
on Space Applications contained in the report of the Scientific and
Technical Subcommittee. In particular, the Committee will consider a report
on the activities of the International Satellite System for Search and
Rescue. The system is designed to provide distress alert and location data
to assist search and rescue operations, and has been successfully in use
since 1982, saving several thousands of lives worldwide.

Proposal for a Draft Resolution on the Concept of the „launching State“

The legal concept of the „launching State“ is important because some of
the existing five United Nations treaties governing the peaceful uses of
Outer Space impose significant obligations and responsibilities on the
State that launched an object into Outer Space. These obligations are
related particularly to registration of objects launched into Outer Space,
and to liability for damage caused by such objects. A review of the concept
has become particularly relevant in light of increasing international
cooperation in space activities, as well as the involvement of
non-governmental entities in launches. The Legal Subcommittee during its
last session examined a proposal for a draft resolution on the concept of
the „launching State“. The Committee will review the proposed resolution
during the upcoming session, for possible submission to the General
Assembly later this year.

Space and Society

The Committee will continue to look at the different ways in which Outer
Space affects life on Earth, in areas like agriculture, communications,
navigation, environmental protection and disaster management.

Candidature for Membership

The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya has submitted its candidature for membership
of the Committee, endorsed by the Group of African states. The Committee
will consider the candidature at the upcoming session.

Membership of the Committee

The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space currently has the
following 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, 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, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United
States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Viet Nam.

* * *
For more information visit the web site of the
UN Office for Outer Space Affairs

With best regards
Renate Henke
United Nations Information Service – NGO Liaison
P.O.Box 500, A-1400 Vienna
Tel.: +43 1 26060-3324, Fax.: +43 1 21346-3324


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