9 June 2005
United Nations General Assembly President Addresses Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
Commends Contribution of UN’s Outer Space Activities to Sustainable Development
VIENNA, 9 June (UN Information Service) – H.E. Mr. Jean Ping, President of the fifty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly, addressed the opening meeting of the forty-eighth session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) yesterday in Vienna, Austria.
Mr. Ping stated that the application of space science and technology had already contributed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations. Space technology contributed to areas such as environmental monitoring, natural resource management, disaster management and public health.
Mr. Ping noted that the report of COPUOS on the review of the implementation of the recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), provided concrete examples of the contribution of space activities to the global development agenda.
This contribution included the improvement of public health services through the expansion and coordination of space-based services for the creation of a rapid alert system on infectious diseases. Mr. Ping further highlighted that the efficient use of satellite technology could benefit rural communities with inadequate access to public health services by improving communication links with hospitals and professional medical expertise found in larger towns and cities. Space technology could thus contribute to achieving the sixth Millennium Development Goal, which is that of combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Mr. Ping expressed his satisfaction that the report of COPUOS highlighted the synergies that exist between the recommendations of UNISPACE III and many of the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and other global initiatives.
Noting that the work of COPUOS in promoting international cooperation in the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space was an essential contribution to the development agenda of the United Nations, Mr. Ping emphasized that it was important for this work to be accompanied and supported by strong political will.
Mr. Ping concluded that, at a time when the United Nations was engaged in an ambitious and necessary reform process, and on the eve of the high-level plenary meeting of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly, one should be aware of the impact of science and technology in general, and space technology in particular, in bettering the human condition.
* *** *
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 the Subcommittees, working on the basis of consensus, make recommendations to the General Assembly.
* *** *
For information contact:
Qais Sultan, Associate Programme Officer, OOSA