Magazine article UN Chronicle

United Nations Committee Calls for Strengthened Co-Operation in Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space; Key Concerns: Safe Use of Nuclear Power Sources, Remote Sensing

Magazine article UN Chronicle

United Nations Committee Calls for Strengthened Co-Operation in Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space; Key Concerns: Safe Use of Nuclear Power Sources, Remote Sensing

Article excerpt

United Nations Committee calls for strengthened co-operation in exploration and peaceful use of outer space

THE Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space has called for strengthened multilateral, regional and bilateral co-operative activities in the realm of exploration and peaceful uses of outer space, as well as specific projects to assist all countries, in particular developing countries, in that area. The body recognized the need to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes, and agreed it could make important contributions to that end.

The 53-member Committee at its 1987 session (1-11 June, New York) reviewed and endorsed the findings of its Scientific and Technical Sub-Committee, which met in February, and its Legal Committee, which met in March and April (see UN Chronicle, May 1987, No.2).

In doing so, it made recommendations regarding the safe use of nuclear power sources in outer space, and considered a variety of proposals on such other topics as remote sensing, the character and use of the geostationary orbit, definition and delimitation of outer space, and ways to better implement the recommendations of the 1982 United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE 82).

Uninterrupted progress

Committee Chairman Peter Jankowitsch of Austria, in opening the session, said space science and technology in the last 30 years had made uninterrupted progress in the peaceful conquest of outer space.

The Committee should undertake "new and innovative forms of international co-operation for the benefit of all nations wishing to make good use of outer space technology', he said. New departures in space co-operation between East and West, North and South, could build on new and solid accomplishments of space science and technology during 1986.

Mr. Jankowitsch also reported that plans for an International Space Year in 1992 were being developed by the the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and the International Council of Scientific Unions, a programme which could boost Committee efforts to further improve international co-operation in the field.

During the session, a group of Eastern European countries called for a study on the needs of States in space technology and emphasized the necessity of broad international co-operation as part of efforts to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.

Some Western States--Australia, Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States--felt that efforts to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes should be centered on revitalizing the work of the Outer Space Committee and its Sub-Committees, and called for establishing a working group to examine the organization and methods of the Committee's work.

UNISPACE 82

In connection with UNISPACE 82 recommendations, the Committee endorsed calls for establishment of a programme of higher education on space-related activities, adoption of short-term emergency measures to implement the United Nations Space Applications Programme by requesting States to contribute in kind to increase the training programmes and fellowships they offered, and greater interaction among experimental and theoretical scientists for the promotion of wider application of the results of scientific research--all made in connection with implementation of UNISPACE 82 recommendations.

Some delegations reiterated the proposals for the establishment of a world space organization and an international centre for joint research and technology, and the convening of an international conference to consider outer space problems. Others expressed the view that no new international mechanisms were needed.

It was also recommended that Member States report annually on techniques resulting from medical studies carried out in outer space, and that the Outer Space Affairs Division survey existing space information services with a view to establishing an international information system. …

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