Press Releases

    8 October 2002


    NEW YORK, 7 October (UN Headquarters) -- The importance of space science and technology for the attainment of sustainable development and the need to strengthen the outer space legal framework were among the issues discussed this morning, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) began considering international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

    Describing outer space as mankind's common heritage, the representative of Algeria said that developing countries must be allowed equal access to outer space. Outer space must be used rationally and peacefully and the work of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was fundamental in that regard.

    Chile's representative, speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and associated States, said there was urgent need for progress in the juridical and ethical dimensions of the uses of outer space. MERCOSUR supported the work of the Outer Space Committee's Legal Subcommittee to develop international outer space law, including the preparation of agreements for the practical uses of outer space, the definition of the limits of outer space, and the nature and use of the geostationary orbit. Stressing the need to address the issue of "space waste", he said that unless that problem was dealt with, an ever-growing "waste barrier" would make it increasingly to difficult to reach outer space.

    The representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the peaceful uses of outer space provided a powerful tool for furthering the well-being of humanity and the Earth's environment. Space applications were fundamental tools for bringing sustainable development throughout the world. The Union welcomed the work of the Outer Space Committee’s action teams in the field of space law and the completion of the review by the Committee's Legal Subcommittee on the concept of the "launching state". He also noted the need for universally accepted guidelines and recommendations for the control of debris from outer space activities. The debate on the problems caused by such debris in international law must be added to the Committee's Legal Subcommittee.

    The Chairman of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space introduced that body's report, saying space technology would require new avenues for international cooperation in the changing international framework. In the past four decades space science and technology had freed human beings from the confines of Earth. Space science and technology could now free human beings from want.

    Statements were also made by the representatives of Japan and Austria, as well as the Fourth Committee Chairman.

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 8 October, to continue its consideration of international cooperation on the peaceful uses of outer space.

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