3 June 2009

United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Holds Its 52nd Session in Vienna

"Space and Climate Change" for the First Time Among the Issues to Be Discussed

Space and Climate Change among Topics

VIENNA, 3 June (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) is holding its 52nd session in Vienna, Austria, from 3 to 12 June. "Space and climate change", as well as the "Use of space technology in the United Nations system" are new items on the agenda of the Committee. Other topics include "Ways and means of maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes", "Spin-off benefits of space technology", "Space and water" and "Space and society". The Committee will also discuss 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, near-earth objects, global navigation satellite systems, Safety Framework for Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space, the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), and capacity-building in space law.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the first human setting foot on the Moon, an American astronaut Russell Schweickart will address the Committee. Two Chinese taikonauts, Yang Liwei (the first Chinese taikonaut in space) and Jing Haipeng will also deliver a special statement at the Committee.

Implementation of the Recommendations of UNISPACE III

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), a panel discussion is being held on 3 June 2009 to discuss the highlights and achievements.

Space and Water

The Committee will consider reports on regional and national water resource management initiatives that involve the use of space technology, in order to contribute meaningfully to meeting 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".

Space and Climate Change

Given the crucial role of space technology in assessing and monitoring climate change, the General Assembly in its resolution 63/90 agreed that a new item entitled "Space and climate change" should be included in the agenda of the Committee at this session.

Use of space technology in the United Nations system

A new agenda item on the use of space technology in the United Nations system will allow the Member States to express their views on space-related activities of the United Nations system and enable the United Nations entities, member of the Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities, to report directly to the Committee.


COPUOS has the following 69 Member States: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bolivia, 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, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Viet Nam.

The following intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations have permanent observer status with COPUOS: African Organization of Cartography and Remote Sensing, 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 Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, European Space Agency, European Space Policy Institute, European Telecommunications Satellite Organization, International Academy of Astronautics, International Astronautical Federation, International Astronomical Union, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, International Institute of Space Law, 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, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, Secure World Foundation, 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 the Subcommittees, working on the basis of consensus, make recommendations to the General Assembly.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office promotes international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, and assists developing countries in using space science and technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at www.unoosa.org

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For further information, please contact:

Jamshid Gaziyev
Associate Programme Officer, UNOOSA
Tel.: (+43-1) 26060-4958
Email: jamshid.gaziyev@unoosa.org