STATEMENT BY SIMONETTA DI PIPPO

DIRECTOR

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR OUTER SPACE AFFAIRS

57th session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

Vienna , 11-20 June 2014

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,

On behalf of the Office for Outer Space Affairs, I warmly welcome you all to the fifty-seventh session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and thank you for the opportunity to address this session of the Committee on the work of the Office over the past year. The Office stands ready to assist you in making this session a success and looks forward to a fruitful and constructive session.

Mr. Chairman, it is a great pleasure for me to congratulate you on your election as the Chair of the Committee and to express confidence that the Committee will continue to achieve major accomplishments under your able guidance. I would also like to welcome Diego Stacey Moreno of Ecuador as First Vice-Chair of the Committee, and Samir S. Mohammed Raouf of Iraq and Ma Xinmin of China as Second Vice-Chair/Rapporteur of the Committee, for this session and next year's session, respectively. I would like to assure you of the support of the Office in facilitating your work to our utmost ability.

I am pleased to thank Yasushi Horikawa of Japan for his excellent leadership of the Committee in the past period 2012-2013, and Filipe Duarte Santos of Portugal, and Piotr Wolanski of Poland for their dedicated work as First Vice-Chair and Second Vice-Chair/Rapporteur, respectively, of the Committee.

The mounting role of outer space is being reconfirmed by the growing importance the international community attaches to cooperation in this area. Since the establishment of the Committee, its membership has increased more than four-fold and is still growing. The Committee membership and legitimacy of the United Nations could be a catalyst for increased international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space to the benefit of developed and developing countries in their common pursuit of achieving the development goals beyond 2015.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,

The responsibilities of the Office towards the Committee and its subsidiary bodies kept the Office fully engaged in the past year through its various programmed activities ranging from full substantive Secretariat support to the sessions, coordination of UN-Space inter-agency actions, and by a wide spectrum of activities under the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, UN-SPIDER, Executive Secretariat function under ICG and in discharging the responsibilities of the Secretary-General under the legal regime on outer space.

In this regard I would like to bring to your attention that the proposed Strategic Framework of the Programme for the period 2016-2017 is available in the Official Document System of the United Nations under the document number A/69/6 (Prog.5) - which has also been made available to all delegations today in a document A/AC.105/2014/CRP.7. I invite the Committee to review the proposed framework and to provide comments or suggest modifications to the text, if any, during its [677 th] meeting on morning of 12 June 2014. The Committee's decisions and/or modifications will be communicated to the Committee on Programme Coordination (CPC), responsible for reviewing the programmes of the United Nations, before its meeting with the Office tomorrow Thursday, 12 June 2014.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,

As you are aware, our programme is funded both from the regular budget and voluntary contributions, both in-cash and in-kind. The Office is very grateful to the Member States and other partners who have contributed voluntarily to our activities. A list of donors is contained in the attachment to the written version of this statement. Still the Office suffers from financial constraints which ultimately could hamper our abilities to deliver.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite donors to consider providing un-earmarked contributions to cover essential operational needs of the Office. We are struggled with the resources we have and the operational ability of the Office should not be affected by constraints relating to general temporary assistance, staff travel, equipment and software-related costs, workstation support fees, and other expenses.

Another important matter relates to the necessity for the timely conclusion of an Agreement/exchange of letters prior to the holding of workshops, training courses and seminars organized by the Office on behalf of the United Nations and held away from established Headquarters, (as mandated by the General Assembly in GA resolution 47/202 of 22 December 1992 and reflected in document ST/AI/342 of 8 May 1987). In this connection, I would like to urge Member States to be mindful an Agreement with standard UN clauses should be concluded at least 3 months before the anticipated date of the meeting to allow formal letters of invitation and other obligations to be carried out. Once firm deadlines for the conclusion of all legal arrangements have been established, non-compliance could result in a postponement or cancellation of the event.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,

I am now pleased to proceed with an overview of the substantive activities of the Office.

During the last year, the Office continued to discharge the responsibilities of the Secretary-General under the United Nations treaties on outer space. The Office would like to encourage all Member States who have launched and/or operate space objects to register them with the Secretary-General in accordance with the 1976 Registration Convention or General Assembly resolution 1721 B (XVI). We are deeply committed to ensuring we discharge our responsibilities within the mandates given to us in the most effective and efficient manner, and we are pleased that the Register continues to enhance confidence among space actors by providing transparency through its mechanisms.

The Office continues its well established programme on capacity-building in space law. In March this year the Office published the Curriculum on Space Law for the Regional Centres on Space Science and Technology Education, affiliated to the United Nations. In 2013 the Office organized a space law seminar in conjunction with the 5th African Leadership Conference hosted by Ghana. This year, the United Nations workshop on space law will be organized by the Office in cooperation with the Government of China, the China National Space Administration and APSCO in Beijing from 17 to 21 November 2014.

Within the framework of the Programme on Space Applications activities in the year 2013 were aimed at building capacity in the use of space science and technology in developing countries, as well as to raising awareness of socio-economic benefits of space technology applications at the national, regional, and international levels. Basic space science, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), small satellites, human space technology, and the use of space technology for enhancing food and water security, as well as addressing climate change were among the many areas focused upon by the Programme in the past year. A separate statement by the Expert on Space Applications will be made during this session reporting on those activities.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,

The Ninth Meeting of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG), which serves as an important platform to improve the coordinated service provision to benefit humankind, will be organized by the European Commission and the European GNSS Agency (GSA) on behalf of the European Union from 10 to 14 November 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic, and it is my intention to be there. Its interest to host the Tenth Meeting of ICG in 2015 was expressed by the United States. It is a pleasure for me to inform that this year, the regional centres for space science and technology education, affiliated to the United Nations, have started to use the Global Navigation Satellite Systems Education Curriculum (ST/SPACE/59) to contribute to the creation of a knowledgeable workforce, necessary for the advancement of GNSS and its applications in the regions.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,

Since the last session of the Committee in 2013, the UN-SPIDER programme provided technical advisory missions to five countries; delivered trainings at a national level in four countries and for the global community in three countries; and organized, supported or participated in a number of international and regional workshops as well as expert meetings. Furthermore, the network of Regional Support Offices has been expanded to now 16 members who are contributing to the programme, notably in knowledge management and capacity building. The Knowledge Portal of UN-SPIDER is constantly improved following priorities defined from a comprehensive evaluation in 2012; it now has a Spanish version and a French version is being built.

The General Assembly resolution 61/110, which established the UN-SPIDER Programme, stated that the programme should be supported through voluntary contributions. We are thankful to the Governments of Austria, China and Germany for their commitment to the Programme since its inception and have now renewed commitments from the Government of China and Germany up until end of 2017. We would like to invite interested Member States to consider the provision of necessary resources as voluntary contributions and/or as concrete collaboration and partnership offers, in order to enable the programme to respond to the growing demand for support in disaster risk reduction and emergency response.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,

I would now turn to some further aspects of importance involving coordination among United Nations system entities.

The report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Outer Space Activities (GGE), established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 65/68, published on 29 July 2013 under the symbol number A/68/189, is made available to delegations during this session. In the report, the Group concluded that the world's growing dependence on space-based systems and technologies and the information they provide requires collaborative efforts to address threats to the sustainability and security of outer space activities.

With regard to the United Nations system, the Group recommended that coordination be established between the Office for Outer Space Affairs, the Office for Disarmament Affairs and other appropriate United Nations entities on matters related to transparency and confidence-building measures for outer space activities. In this connection, contacts between the Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Office for Disarmament Affairs are initiated. Moreover, the Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities (UN-Space) agreed at its 34 th session in May this year to include at its session next year an exchange of views on the report, pertaining to the coordination of United Nations system entities.

I would also take this opportunity to inform delegations that the Office for Outer Space Affairs, in response to a request from the General Assembly Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) to increase interactive dialogue, intends to hold a panel discussion on a theme relating to the GGE report to be organized during this year's session of the Fourth Committee when it considers the item on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. The scheduled meeting are 15-17 October 2014 and the panel discussion would be held on the opening day 15 October.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,

UN-Space was held from 13 to 14 May 2014 in New York. The session was organized back-to-back with the 14th meeting of the United Nations Geographical Information Working Group (UNGIWG), a network of United Nations professionals working in the fields of cartography and geographic information science. A joint UN-Space - UNGIWG meeting was held in the afternoon of 14 May. UN-Space decided to focus its upcoming special report on the theme of space and global health. Further, and as I already mentioned, UN-Space will include in the agenda for its next session in 2015 an exchange of views and information on the GGE report.

As part of the Inter-Agency Meeting, an Open Informal Session was organized on 14 May to reach out to representatives of Member States of the United Nations on the theme of contribution of space technology and applications to the post-2015 development agenda. The importance of space technology in addressing the post-2015 development agenda is also the theme of the report of the Secretary-General on coordination of space-related activities for the period 2014-2015. I will make a more detailed statement under the item on the use of space technology in the United Nations system during the course of the session. The report of the Secretary-General and the report of UN-Space are being made available to delegations at this session.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,

The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is a unique intergovernmental body positioned to foster international cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space. Since the establishment of the Committee following the launch of the first artificial satellite, considerable advancements in space technology and applications have been made, offering innovative solutions to traditional approaches in virtually any sector: from agriculture to public health, from environment protection to disaster preparedness and response.

Now, at the critical stage when the world shapes new sustainable development goals and formulates global development agenda in the post-2015 context, there is a growing recognition by the global community of the contribution of space technology for informed decision making. The establishment and strengthening of sustainable and standards-driven spatial data infrastructures merit recognition as means of implementation of those development goals and objectives. In order to ensure that the fundamental access to information and ability to use data to support decision making at all levels are carried forward and acted upon in the set of sustainable development goals for 2015 and beyond, the Committee, its subsidiary bodies and the Office have together a unique opportunity to mobilize support and commitment at the global level for increasing the role of space-based technology and information as enabler of the goals and objectives of the post-2015 development agenda.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, in concluding,

The Office for Outer Space Affairs fulfils a broad mandate in promoting the peaceful uses of outer space, bringing space-related capacity to all parts of the World. The use of space technology applications for the benefit of developing countries and for global development is the paramount objective of the Office. To continue making achievements in this important field we need to raise awareness both within the UN system and among potential partners. A new communication strategy has been put in place, then, and a deep restructuring of the OOSA website started. In this context, social media also acquire an increasing importance. In this respect, I Invite you to watch a short video on the Office for Outer Space Affairs.

Enjoy and Thank you for your attention.


Annex

STAFF CHANGES

The following staff movements took place in the Office since the Committee met last year.

At the end of 2013 the Office had to wish farewell to Ms. Mazlan Othman (Malaysia) on her retirement. Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo was appointed as the new Director of the Office in March 2014.

In the Space Applications Section, Mr. Lorant Czarant (Romania) has retuned back to the Office in May 2014 after a temporary assignment at the United Nations Cartographic Section in New York, and Mr. Coen Bussink (the Netherlands), who was temporarily filling that post, returned to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, where he serves as a GIS focal point for illicit crop monitoring. Mr. Werner Balogh (Austria) has assumed larger responsibilities at a temporary post of Programme Officer. In the meantime, the post, previously occupied by Mr. Balogh, is now being filled by Ms. Chisato Kobayashi (Japan), who worked in the United Kingdom as a satellite engineer. The Office had to wish farewell to Mr. Robert Backhaus (Germany) and Ms. Mika Ochai (Japan), experts on a non-reimbursable loan (NRL) at the UN-SPIDER Bonn Office and at the Space Applications Section, respectively. Ms. LIU Longfei, an NRL from the National Disaster Reduction Center of China, joined the UN-SPIDER Office in Beijing in October 2013. In September 2013, Mr. Levent Canturk (Turkey) moved to a post within the International Narcotics Control Board. Ms. Sonia Beharovic (the United States), who previously served in the Office of Human Resources Management and at the Department of Public Information, transferred to that post. Ms. LIU Jing (China) left the UN-SPIDER office in Beijing. Ms GAO Yuan (China) has joined the office in Beijing to provide administrative support.

Within the Committee, Policy and Legal Affairs Section, Ms. Aygul Duysenhanova (Uzbekistan) assumed larger responsibilities at a post of Programme Officer. Ms. Sama Payman (Australia) assumed larger responsibilities at the Office of the Director-General of UNOV, and Mr. Michael Newman (the United States) continues to fill that post. Ms. Romana Kofler (Slovenia) moved in September 2013 to a post within the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna. Ms. Sinead Harvey (Ireland), who served in the Human Resource Policy Service of the Office of Human Resources Management in New York, has now replaced Ms. Kofler in that post.

RESOURCES

The Programme on the peaceful uses of outer space is funded both from the regular budget and voluntary contributions, both in-cash and in-kind.  From the regular budget, the Office has received, for 2014, $483,100 to implement the activities of the Office, the Programme on Space Applications and UN-SPIDER. This amount is supplemented by voluntary contributions from Member States, space-related entities and industry. In 2013, the Office received with gratitude cash contributions for activities to be implemented in 2013 and 2014 in the value of $1,000,000. The full list of contributors is contained in the Annex to the present statement.

The list of contributors includes Austria, China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, the European Commission, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the Office for Space Commercialization of the United States, Association of Austrian Space Industries (AUSTROSPACE), Austria (Ministry of Foreign Affairs - BmeiA, the State of Styria and City of Graz), Belarusian State University (BSU), China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), China National Space Administration (CNSA), Digital Globe Inc., Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany (Ministry of Economic Cooperation, BMZ), Inter-Islamic Network on Space Science and Technology (ISNET), International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and IAC 2013 Local Organizing Committee, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT), National Institute of Aeronautics and Space of Indonesia (LAPAN), Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), Politecnico di Torino and Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), Secure World Foundation (SWF) and the University of Rijeka, Croatia.

The Office benefitted from the full-time services of three associate experts and six experts (NRLs), the salaries of which were provided in-kind by Austria, China, Germany and Japan. These nine individuals represented almost 30% of our total staff complement in 2013 and are a critical resource for the UN-SPIDER programme and Human Space Technology Initiative (HSTI) of the Office. The Office would like to express its appreciation to these Governments for making the experts available to the Office. This contribution is assessed at over $700,000.

The Office also benefitted greatly from the in-kind contributions of Governments and space-related entities and industry for activities organized in 2013 under the Programme on Space Applications, ICG and UN-SPIDER. The total value of the in-kind contributions received for the activities organized in 2013 is assessed at approximately $830,000.

OUTREACH EVENTS AND COMMUNICATIONS APPROACH

Web site development

The Office is actively reviewing and enhancing its website. The new website is intended to allow users to discover the Office, the work being done and the Office's role in promoting the peaceful uses of outer space. With easier navigation, improved access to information, and new tools it would better support the users. The Office is currently undertaking a project to redevelop its website including the online registry of objects launched into outer space. The current website, though extensive in content, requires structural upgrades to align it with current web standards and to make it more user-friendly. A Web Development Team was established to manage the project and the team is working closely with the Information Technology Services Section in UNOV on the design and implementation of the new site. As part of the development process, a focus group was conducted, gathering the views of representatives from identified UNOOSA stakeholders. The findings of the focus group formed the basis of the web development strategy. At present, the Web Development Team is, in consultation with all UNOOSA staff members, identifying the optimal layout and content requirements for the new website. The new website is planned to be launched in January 2015.

World Space Week 2013

Under the leadership of the World Space Week Association, over 1400 events in celebration of the World Space Week were registered in 2013, in over 70 countries. The title for World Space Week 2013 was "Exploring Mars, Discovering Earth" and it proved to be the most ambitious global outreach and education campaign for World Space Week to date.

International Day of Human Space Flight

On Friday, 12 April 2014, the International Day of Human Space Flight declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011, was celebrated globally. The Office marked the event with the official launch of the third edition in our series of 'Messages from Space Explorers to future generations", and with the organization of a social media campaign (twitter chat) with the Expert of Space Applications, Mr. Takao Doi, on topics related to Human Space Flight and the work of the Office.

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