[CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY]

STATEMENT BY SIMONETTA DI PIPPO

DIRECTOR

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR OUTER SPACE AFFAIRS (UNOOSA)

58th Session of the Legal Subcommittee

of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

3 April 2019

Vienna, Austria

 

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates,

On behalf of the Office for Outer Space Affairs, I thank you for the opportunity to address this session on the work of the Office. I would like to assure you Mr. Chair of our commitment to assist you in running the meetings.
At the outset, allow me to welcome Cyprus, Ethiopia, Finland, Mauritius and Paraguay as new States members of the Committee, and the European Union, International Organization of Standardization, CANEUS-International and For All Moonkind, as the newest observer organizations to the Committee.
This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the US Apollo 11 mission and the first moon landing placing humans on the surface of the moon. This iconic milestone marked a historic new phase in space exploration and has inspired humanity beyond space activities. Space exploration and innovation has excelled over the years and we see present and coming planetary missions to the Moon, Mars and other planets in our solar system. As international cooperation in space affairs continues to advance, we are also seeing increased interest in other bodies of the solar system, including moons of planets and asteroids.

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates,

Space exploration and innovation is also becoming increasingly important at the regional level. Last week, for example, the Office held a workshop in Amman on "global partnership in space exploration and innovation" jointly co-organized with Jordan and hosted by the Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Western Asia, affiliated to the United Nations. At the workshop an important initiative was presented in which 11 countries agreed at the United Arab Emirates Global Space Congress the week before to the formation of an Arab Space Group with the objective to advance the development of the region's space sector.

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates,

In connection to space exploration and innovation, this year we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Moon Agreement in 1979. This is the fifth of the United Nations treaties on outer space and the Secretary-General of the United Nations serves as depository to this treaty and to the fourth of the space treaties, namely the Registration Convention. The specific depository function of the Secretary-General is maintained by the Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs at New York. As delegations are aware, the Office for Outer Space Affairs discharges the responsibilities of the Secretary-General under the treaties and principles on outer space. This is separate from the depository function and deals with the substantive responsibilities assigned to the Secretary-General.

In this context and since last year's session of the Legal Subcommittee, the Office received and disseminated information provided by Paraguay and Mexico under Article V of the Rescue Agreement on the recovery of space objects within its territory. Additionally, the Office received and disseminated a notification by China under the NPS Principles concerning the launch of the Chang'e 4 lunar mission.

With regard to the United Nations Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space, the Office is pleased to note that, in 2018, 229 functional space objects and 101 non-functional space objects were registered with the Secretary-General by Argentina, Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lao PDR, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Spain, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay & Eumetsat. Notifications of 32 space object re-entries and 18 notifications of the change in status, i.e. decommissioning, changes in orbital parameters including GSO position, etc. were provided by States. Additionally, New Zealand provided a notification on the establishment of its national space object registry in accordance with Article II of the Convention. The Office would like to invite States Parties who have not provided such a notification to do so.

The Office would also like to note that to date, in 2019, it has already received registration submissions for 165 functional and 31 non-functional space objects from Belarus, Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Indonesia, Kenya, Poland, Norway, Russian Federation, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA and ESA. Given the planned schedule for space launches in 2019, the Office expects to receive a substantial number of registrations over the course of the year.

In addition, the Office continues to serve as the United Nations focal point on re-entry of nuclear-powered space objects for the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organizations.

The summary above on the status of formal actions under the treaties and principles demonstrates the importance of further enhancing the application and implementation of obligations under the United Nations instruments on outer space. The Office would like to thank States and intergovernmental organizations for their assistance in the fulfilment of those responsibilities under the treaties and principles on outer space.

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates,

In relation to the application and implementation of the rights and obligations under the legal regime of outer space, delegations are aware of the long-standing capacity-building programme of the Office devoted to space law and policy where 10 workshops were successfully held between 2002 and 2016 in cooperation with the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Brazil, Nigeria, Ukraine, Islamic Republic of Iran, Thailand, Argentina, China, and at the UN premises in Vienna.

Building upon this series of workshops, the Office last year moved on with a new phase in its capacity-building efforts, by a new series of dedicated United Nations Conferences on Space Law and Policy, for which the first one was successfully co-organized with the Russian Federation and held in Moscow on 11-13 September 2018. The report of this conference is available in document A/AC.105/1195 and contains a comprehensive summary of the discussions held.

The Office is currently preparing for the next conference planned to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 23-26 September this year in cooperation with Turkey and APSCO and to be hosted by Tubitak.

Capacity-building in space law and policy must connect to efforts in the scientific and technical field, and therefore the Office is determined to continue and further develop the integrated and cross-sectorial approach that is successfully being applied to the series of High-level Forums, annual symposiums held in Graz, Austria, and under the Office's Basic Space Technology Initiative (BSTI), respectively. Such cross-sectorial dialogue covering science, technology, law and policy is essential in the complex space agenda of today and in the future.

In this context, I would also like to point out the importance of capacity-building and training in space law and policy targeting specifically policy- and decision-makers. Today, stakeholders around the world are accessing the space environment with substantial investments in space activities. With an increasing evolution of new actors, there is a pressing need to enhance efforts to raise awareness of, and adherence to, the existing normative framework governing space activities.

The Office works with stakeholders across the legal, policy and capacity-building fields of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. In this context, the Office is setting in motion a new project on "space law for new space actors: fostering responsible national space activities" to deliver space law and policy capacity-building and advisory services, targeted and tailored predominantly for regulatory authorities from countries who are either entering the space sector for the first time or who are embarking upon new phases of their space activities.

This innovative project will assess the needs of requesting States on technical legal assistance taking into account judicial, administrative and technical requirements; raise global awareness of the fundamental principles of international space law; and support the adherence and implementation of the normative framework governing outer space activities.

The Office calls out to partners for joining in this endeavour and for contributing financially to the realization of this project of advocacy being initiated by the Office. A presentation on this project will be made by the Office in the afternoon meeting of Monday 8 April during this session of the Legal Subcommittee.

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates,

I wish to inform delegations of the recent official evaluation of the Office for Outer Space Affairs conducted and completed on 8 March 2019 by the Inspection and Evaluation Division of the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). The full report of this procedural evaluation covers a broad spectrum of Office activities and will be made publicly available on the website of OIOS on April 8 next week.

A number of stakeholders and partners, including representatives of States members of the Committee, were interviewed for the evaluation and this indeed brought valuable insight to the work and performance of the Office.

Allow me to touch upon a few of the key findings, noting that OIOS stated in the executive summary to the evaluation report, inter alia, that "UNOOSA is a small office with a unique mandate covering the full range of peaceful uses of outer space" and that "overall, UNOOSA remained relevant and essential: first, to service an evolving international legal framework encompassing rapidly-developing scenarios in outer space affairs; second, to address the needs of Member States in developing their legal and technical capacity to harness the benefits of space for humankind; and third, to help close the gap between space-faring and non-space-faring countries amidst rapid political, technical and commercial changes".

The consistent appreciation expressed by stakeholders was reflected in the evaluation results with OIOS noting, the 'overwhelmingly positive feedback about the Office's accomplishments despite a small budget, with no other entity within or outside the UN possessing a comparable mandate covering the full breath of political, legal and scientific affairs related to the peaceful uses of outer space.'

Among the set of recommendations spanning over a broader area of programmatic activities of the Office, in a legal context, one specific recommendation pertains to the role of the Office in discharging the responsibilities of the Secretary-General under the legal regime of outer space. It is recommended that, in anticipation of growth in the number of objects launched into outer space in the near future, the Office should review and modernize its registration process and capacity to maintain a high registration rate. This expected large increase in space object launches in the years to come and the relationship to the obligations of registration, is an area of concern to the Office.

The registration of space objects is primarily a responsibility of governments, and the Office stands ready to assist in upholding a robust registration system. However, the Office cannot do this alone and in isolation. The central United Nations Register on Objects Launched into Outer Space is a common treaty-bound mechanism for responsible national space activities, and we must work together to ensure that awareness of, and adherence to, this mechanism is as high as possible.

I would like to thank the ones among you who took the time to answer the questions of OIOS and presented such a positive opinion on the performance of the Office. While some recommendations can, and will, be implemented and that the Office has already taken actions in the proper direction, others cannot be implemented due to a lack of human resources in the Office which has been reported in the formal response to OIOS, available as annex I and II of the evaluation report.

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates,

In conclusion, let me underscore the commitment of my Office in supporting all States in continuously developing and maintaining responsible space activities through our role in discharging the responsibilities of the Secretary-General under the treaties and principles on outer space, and through capacity-building and advocacy activities as explained above.

Thank you for your attention.

****

Annex

Cooperation Agreements

The following agreements have been negotiated and signed between the Office for Outer Space Affairs and various parties in 2018:

  • Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Collaboration between the United Nations, represented by the Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) (in Force as of 26 February 2018);
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and Committee on Space Research (19 March 2018);
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations Represented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Caneus International on the Rules- And Principles-Based Cooperation in Promoting Partnerships Between OOSA and Industry and the Private Sector (17 April 2018);
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and Spacetrust (4 June 2018);
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (18 June 2018);
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and the German Aerospace Centre (18 June 2018);
  • Amendment No. 1 to the Framework Agreement between the United Nations, represented by the Office for Outer Space Affairs, and the China Manned Space Agency concerning Cooperation on the Utilization of China's Space Station (19 June 2018);
  • Declaration of intent to cooperate on the Belt and Road Space Information Corridor between the United Nations, Represented by the Office for Outer Space Affairs, and the China National Space Administration (19 June 2018);
  • Memorandum of Understanding Between the United Nations and Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (21 June 2019);
  • Letter of Agreement from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for Funding Secretariat Support Services to the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG) (4 September 2018);
  • Letter of Grant to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs from the Government of New Zealand to support the Space Solutions for the Pacific Project (22 October 2018);
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and Universita Bocconi (8 November 2018);
  • Memorandum of Understanding Between the United Nations and the World Space Week Association (22 November 2018);
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of the Portuguese Republic and the Ad-Air Centre for Cooperation in the Field of Space Technology, Applications and Data Utilisation (27 November 2018).

 

Exchange of Letters

In 2018, for conducting its activities outside of the established headquarters of the United Nations, the Office concluded host country agreements through the exchange of letters with the Governments of Argentina, Austria, Brazil, China, Germany, Pakistan and Russian Federation.

The following requirements are essential for the conclusion of Host Country Agreements:

1) The need for timely conclusion of an agreement/exchange of letters prior to the holding of workshops, training courses, seminars and symposia, organized by the Office on behalf of the United Nations and held away from established Headquarters. Agreements should be concluded at least 3-6 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 the postponement or cancellation of the event; and

2) The observance of the fundamental purpose of Host Country Agreements, namely the need to ensure that (a) the necessary privileges and immunities are granted by the host Government to all persons participating in or providing services for the event; (b) all invitees to a United Nations event are granted unimpeded access to and from the meeting venue, and that no limitations of a domestic nature are placed on the granting of visas where the latter are necessary; (c) the host Government will indemnify and hold the United Nations harmless for any injury or loss occurring within the premises or the transportation provided by the host Government, or by the support personnel provided for the event by the Government; and (d) an effective provision on the peaceful settlement of disputes is provided.

 

Awareness-raising and Outreach in 2018

United Nations/International Days and Anniversaries

Dates

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

11 February 2018

International Women's Day

8 March 2018

International Day of Human Space flight

12 April 2018

International Asteroid Day

30 June 2018

World Space Week

4-10 October 2018

International Day for Disaster Reduction

13 October 2018

 

Exhibitions

Location, Dates

UNISPACE+50
(together with over 40 other exhibitors)

Vienna, 18-23 June 2018

My Planet, My Future: Space for the Sustainable Development Goals (together with CANEUS)

United Nations, New York
10 July-5 September 2018

Space2030: Space as a Driver for Peace
(together with SpaceTrust)

United Nations, New York
24 September 2018

UNOOSA: Bringing the benefits of space to humankind
(at International Astronautical Congress)

Bremen, Germany
1-5 October 2018

 

Publications

Symbol/Date

European Global Navigation Satellite System and Copernicus: Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. Building Blocks towards the 2030 Agenda"

ST/SPACE/71
29 January 2018

UNOOSA 2017 Annual Report

ST/SPACE/72
15 June 2018

Near-Earth Objects and Planetary Defence

ST/SPACE/73
29 June 2018

The Interoperable Global Navigation Satellite Systems Space Service Volume

ST/SPACE/75
30 October 2018

 

Other activities

Location, Dates

Champion for Space (UNISPACE+50 countdown campaign, keynote address and other engagements; video message to students of International School of Bratislava)

Vienna, 19 June 2018;
October 2018

 

Awareness-raising and Outreach planned for 2019

United Nations/International Days and Anniversaries

Dates

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

11 February 2019

International Women's Day

8 March 2019

World Water Day

22 March 2019

International Day of Human Space flight

12 April 2019

40 th Anniversary of the Vienna International Centre

May & September 2019

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

17 June 2019

International Asteroid Day

30 June 2019

International Youth Day

12 July 2019

20 th Anniversary of UNISPACE III

19 July 2019

50 th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

20 July 2019

World Space week

4-10 October 2019

International Day for Disaster Reduction

13 October 2019

 

Exhibitions

Location, Dates

UNOOSA: Bringing the benefits of space to humankind
(at International Astronautical Congress)

 

Washington,
United States of America
21-25 October 2019

 

Publications

Date

UNOOSA 2018 Annual Report

June 2019

 

RESOURCES OF THE OFFICE
Human Resources overview

Funding Source

2010-2011

2012-2013

2014-2015

2016-2017

2018

2019
(as at February)

Regular Budget

24

(19P/5GS)

24

(19P/5GS)

23

(18P/5GS)

23 (18P/5GS)

23 (18P/5GS)

23 (18P/5GS)

Extra-Budgetary
(Cash)

2 (2GS)

2 (2GS)

3 (1P/2GS)

4 (2P/2GS)

6 (3P/3GS)

2 (Temp)

6 (3P/3GS)

2 (Temp)

Extra Budgetary
(In-kind)

9 (6NRL/3JPO)

9 (5NRL/4JPO)

7 (5NRL/2JPO)

8 (6NRL/2JPO)

9 (6NRL/3JPO)

9 (6NRL/3JPO)

Total Staff*

35

35

33

35

40

40

 

Financial resources overview

Regular Budget
Thousands of United States dollars

2010-2011

2012-2013

2014-2015

2016-2017

2018-2019*

8 592.0

8 305.5

7 774.3

7 561.8

7 795.7

* Revised appropriation as approved by General Assembly in A/RES/73/280A-C on 22 December 2018 on basis of first performance report on programme budget for the biennium 2018-2019 (A/73/493; A/73/625).

 

Extra-budgetary
Thousands of United States dollars

 

2018

Donors

Cash contributions (excl. prior period adjustments)

1 241.5

Airbus, Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation (APSCO);

Austrospace; Beihang University, China; Brazilian Space Agency (AEB); CANEUS; Centre for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces of the University of Bonn, Germany (ZFL-UniBonn); Centre for Space, Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), India; China Manned Space Agency (CMSA); China National Space Administration (CNSA); China Satellite Navigation Office; City of Graz; City of Vienna; Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE), Argentina

Delta State University; DigitalGlobe; European Commission

European Space Agency; Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Brazil; German Aerospace Centre (DLR);

Government of Austria (Office of the President, Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Transportation, Innovation and Technology and Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG); Government of China (Ministry of Emergency Management); Government of Germany (Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs of Germany (BMWi) and Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)); Government of Israel; Government of New Zealand; Government of the United States of America (Department of States Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration); Graz University of Technology; the Holy See; Instituto Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (IFRN), Brazil; Inter-Islamic Network on Space Science and Technology (ISNET); International Astronautical Federation (IAF); International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP); International Water Management Institute; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA); Joanneum Research Forschungsgessellschaft mbH; Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan; National Disaster Reduction Centre of China (NDRCC); National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil; National Point of Contact for Space Law, Austria; National Space Agency of Pakistan (SUPARCO); Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW); Sierra Nevada Corporation; South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Disaster Management Centre (Interim unit), India; Spacetrust; State of Styria, Austria; State Space Corporation (ROSCOSMOS); University of Bonn, Germany

Women in Aerospace; World Vision International and ZARM Fallturm-Betriebsgessellschaft mbH.

 

In-kind Contributions
(excluding value of staff placement with Office on non-reimbursable loan basis (NRL) or under the junior professional programme (JPO))

976,5

 

____________________

 

Copyright ©2019 UNOOSA, All Rights Reserved