12 June 2009

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

VIENNA, 12 June (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) has concluded its deliberations over ways and means to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes and to ensure that space technology and its applications continue to benefit many areas critical to all humanity at its 52nd session held from 3 to 12 June.

On the new agenda item of space and climate change, the Committee agreed that due to the global nature of climate change, space-based observations, complemented with ground-based observations, were well-suited to monitor the different manifestations of climate change and factors which are contributing to it. Space-based observations could be also used in support of mitigation and adaptation measures linked to climate change.

Highlights of the 52nd session of the Committee include:

•     The Committee endorsed the Safety Framework for Nuclear Power Sources Applications in Outer Space, adopted by its Scientific and Technical Subcommittee at its 46th session and subsequently agreed by the IAEA Commission on Safety Standards at its 25th meeting, both held in Vienna, earlier in 2009.

•     US astronaut and Brigadier-General of the United States Strategic Command, Susan Helms stressed in her statement to the Committee how international cooperation between space-faring nations could lead to improved space situational awareness and shared insights on the Iridium-Cosmos collision, which took place on 10 February 2009 at an altitude of 790 km above the Earth.

•     The Chinese astronauts Yang Liwei and Jing Haipeng delivered a keynote address on the success of China's manned space flights Shenzhou-5 and Shenzhou-7. They also met with Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General of UNOV, briefing him on China's outer space programme that was launched in 1992 and performed three manned and four unmanned missions.

•     The Office for Outer Space Affairs signed cooperation agreements on 4 June to establish the Regional Support Offices of the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) with Iran, Nigeria, Romania, and the Asian Disaster Reduction Centre. The Regional Support Offices will serve as centres of expertise in the use of space technology in disaster management.

•     The panel discussion on the theme "Tenth anniversary of UNISPACE III" was held on 3 June to discuss the progress and achievements made so far. The implementation and follow-up of recommendations of UNISPACE III relating to the use of space-based systems for areas such as agriculture and land use, water resource management and disaster management helps Member States to support their sustainable development needs and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

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For further information, please contact:

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