Mr. Chairman, Excellences, Dear Participants,
It gives me great pleasure to address the ACUNS Vienna UN Conference on 'Lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals: perspectives for the post 2015 development agenda'. 2015 is to be a particularly important year for the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) as we concentrate on our message that now is the time to make the overall governance of the peaceful uses of outer space an integral part of the international community's global commitments on sustainable development. I see this conference as a unique event involving all Vienna based organizations, and I sincerely thank the ACUNS conference organizers for this outstanding effort. The conference is furthermore of the utmost relevance as academia is at the heart of many of our activities, most particularly in capacity building efforts for the benefit of developing countries.
There has been extraordinary progress in the development of space science and technology and their applications over the past 50 years. Exploration efforts have deepened our understanding of the planetary system, the Sun and the Earth itself, we have advanced the use of space science and technology for the benefit of all humankind and we have, in parallel, developed the international legal regime governing space activities. The 50 years old Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its subsidiary bodies, together with its Secretariat UNOOSA, form a common platform at the global level for international cooperation in exploration efforts and space activities.
The Office has a unique programmatic mandate within the UN Secretariat to comprehensively deal with space affairs ranging from science and technology application to policy, law, outreach and diplomacy. Through its leadership of the United Nations inter-agency meeting on Outer Space Activities, UN-Space, we promote synergies on efforts related to the use of space technology and applications in the work of United Nations and for the goals of the Organization. Areas of consideration under UN-Space include space and climate change, agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, global health and transparency and confidence building measures in outer space activities. UNOOSA is the only UN entity with a dedicated mandate to perform activities in all areas of the space endeavour - space economy; space society; space accessibility; and space diplomacy.
This coming year will be pivotal for the UN as a whole. 2015 will mark a new global development agenda and there is a growing recognition by the community worldwide of thecontribution of space technology for global sustainable development. Space as a tool for economic growth and strengthening of emerging markets must be promoted. Space economy is an emerging and valuable tool for economic sustainable development. Additionally, there is a need to promote space society in a social sustainable environment. The global community can benefit from the socio-economic prospects of state-of-art technologies and space based services. We will continue working on capacity-building and enhanced access to space and its assets for all countries. We will promote more open and free access to, and exchange of, space-based data and information and bring more attention to regulatory and legislative actions. Space diplomacy is an effective tool to establish knowledge-based international partnerships. Cooperation and the use of space for peaceful purposes can only improve international relations.
In addition to our leadership effort in UN-Space, UNOOSA is strategically focusing also on bilateral relationships with other UN and UN-related entities. As a few examples of coordination efforts in central areas of development we work closely with the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, to hold a joint ICAO/UNOOSA Aerospace Symposium in Montreal, Canada, in March of this year. The Office has also reinforced its relations with the Group on Earth Observations, GEO, both as a Participating Organization and supporting various GEO capacity building and awareness-raising efforts. We work with the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify potential areas of collaboration where the needs and requirements of the health sector are intersected with the benefits derived from space applications and technologies. In this regard, we will co-host an Expert Meeting with WHO and International Space Station (ISS) partners in June of this year.
The Office, through its UN-SPIDER programme, also coordinates with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR, and will take an active role in the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) to be held in Sendai, Japan, in March this year. This Conference aims to produce a new framework for action on disaster risk reduction, which will replace the Hyogo Framework for Action set in 2005 but with a much longer term vision, up to 20 or even 25 years. UNOOSA through its UN-SPIDER programme will integrate this new framework into its vision and plan of work to ensure that the Office continues to provide and improve support to countries in their goals related to disaster risk reduction and emergency response, but also in sustainable development.
Global sustainable development not only implies the use of space tools, but also requires that space-related activities, as well as outer space itself, continue to be sustainable in the longterm perspective. The near-Earth environment is fragile and the broader use of space operations and the increased strategic value of space has resulted in a growing need to enhance the safety of space operations, security of space assets, and the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. Global space governance may involve strengthened international mechanisms for transparency and confidence-building; space-traffic management and tools for space situational awareness. These areas call for a strong UNOOSA and we look forward, through strengthened cooperation and partnerships, to contributing to the post-2015 development agenda and to the protection of the space environment.
I thank you for your attention.