Beihang University, Beijing, China, 17 November 2014

Opening Ceremony of the

Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in

Asia and the Pacific (China), RCSSTEAP (China)

Simonetta Di Pippo

Director

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

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Your Excellences, Honourable Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honour for me, as representative of the United Nations, to join you here today at Beihang University  for the inauguration of the Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (China).

Over the last few years, China has clearly established itself as an eminent space power, having launched numerous successful application satellites and a series of impressive robotic and human exploration missions. China is also actively engaged in bilateral and multilateral international cooperation activities with countries in the Asia and the Pacific region and through its active membership of the  Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

The benefits of Chinese space activities extend to the United Nations, most notably with the secondment of highly qualified staff to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the discussions we are having on a range of cooperative opportunities in fields such as space science and its applications and human spaceflight.

The international centre for GNSS science, technology and education hosted by the Beihang University of China is acting as an information centre for ICG and provides capacity-building and technical guidance in all aspects of science, technology, applications and education in the field of GNSS. The centre might grow into a network of centres, focusing on GNSS science, technology and education, around the world - all dedicated to the advancement of GNSS research, applications and education.

I am also very happy to note that the UN-SPIDER Programme, implemented by my Office, has an office here in Beijing. Since its establishment, the UN-SPIDER Office in Beijing has made important contributions to assist Member States, particularly in the Asia and the Pacific Region, to make optimal use of space technology and its applications for disaster management and emergency response.

Also, earlier today we opened the United Nations/China/APSCO Workshop on Space Law on the theme "The Role of National Space Legislation in Strengthening the Rule of Law" which is hosted by China National Space Administration, and will be held until 20 November here in Beijing.

Your Excellences, Honourable Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today we are witness to the establishment of the new Regional Centre here at Beihang University.  It was less than 14 months ago when an international Evaluation Mission, facilitated by the Office for Outer Space Affairs and composed of experts nominated by member States of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, met here in Beijing to assess a proposal by the Government of China to establish a new Regional Centre at Beihang University. The Evaluation Mission recommended the establishment of the Regional Centre and its affiliation to the United Nations.

The Regional Centres form an important part of our space community, in particular under the framework of the Committee on the peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Each year the United nations general Assembly in its resolution on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space acknowledges the important work carried out by the Regional Centres. The general Assembly in its resolution last year and this year clearly acknowledges the establishment of this new Regional Centre.

This Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (China) will join the network of Regional Centres established in Africa, Asia and Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and Western Asia. These Centres develop, through in-depth education, an indigenous capability for research and applications in the core disciplines of:

  • Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems;
  • Satellite Communications;
  • Satellite Meteorology and Global Climate;
  • Space and Atmospheric Sciences; and
  • Positioning, Navigation and Timing.

In addition a dedicated curriculum on space law has recently been developed for inclusion in the education programme of the Centres.

Through their work, the Regional Centres support the work of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications and it is with great pleasure that we see, with the establishment of a Regional Centre in Beihang University, a growing network of  Centres.

In line with the requirements for affiliation of a Regional Centre with the United Nations, the Government of China has concluded bilateral agreements with several Member States in the Asia and the Pacific and in other regions in support of the work of the new Regional Centre and has also established a Governing Board for the Centre.  

As part of today's inauguration ceremony I had the pleasure of signing, on behalf of the United Nations and as recommend by the international Evaluation Mission, an affiliation agreement with the  Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (China).

The Office for Outer Space Affairs is confident that the infrastructure and the quality of the academic research and facilities at Beihang University, as well as the governmental and institutional support provided by the Government of China, will allow the Centre to fulfil its role to contribute to  building regional capacities in space science and technology for peaceful purposes.

I am taking this opportunity, on behalf of the United Nations, to thank the Government of China and Beihang University for their offer to host the Regional Centre for the socio-economic benefits of the Asia and the Pacific region and beyond.

Honourable Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today's inauguration of the Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (China) represents a new starting point for cooperation between China and the United Nations in the field of space activities. We at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs are very much looking forward to working together with the newly established Centre and its Member States to realize our common vision to bring the benefits of space activities to all humankind.

I thank you for your attention.

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