Tenth Meeting of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG)

Opening Statement

Simonetta DI PIPPO, Director

1 -6 November 2015, Boulder, Colorado, United States



Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to address the Tenth Meeting of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG) on behalf of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and welcome you all to this meeting.

I would like to take the opening of this meeting of the ICG as an opportunity to thank those United Nations States members who gave the Office the opportunity over the past decade to be connected to and participate in the ICG's development. I also wish to highlight the fact that the ICG and its Providers' Forum, alongside the work that the Office is doing to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use and exploration of space, are important vehicles for helping build a multi global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) environment for sustainable development.

            I would also like to sincerely thank the Government of the United States and the University of Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) for organizing and hosting this Tenth Meeting of the ICG.

Distinguished delegates,

            The Office for Outer Space Affairs, as the Executive Secretariat of the ICG and its Providers' Forum, promotes the use of GNSS technology for national development in a sustainable manner. As new systems emerge, signal compatibility and interoperability among GNSS, as well as transparency in the provision of open civil services, will be key factors in ensuring that civil users around the world receive the maximum benefit from GNSS applications. It is my hope that collaboration among the representatives of GNSS providers and GNSS user communities will continue to grow and deepen in the future. We must also use this vital mechanism for collaboration to address the protection of the GNSS spectrum, orbital debris and orbit de-confliction among current and future global and regional satellite-based systems. At the forefront we support the broader objective of integrating GNSS and their augmentations into the basic infrastructure, i.e. governmental, scientific and commercial, of developing nations.

            The Office for Outer Space Affairs also serves as the Secretariat for the United Nations General Assembly's only committee dealing exclusively with international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, namely, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (or COPUOS). COPUOS has been able to build consensus and agreements on its programmes through three United Nations International Conferences on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE 1, 2 and 3).

            The first UNISPACE Conference, held in 1968, was conceived as a forum for exchanging information on a global scale and recommended that a United Nations Programme on Space Applications should be established to disseminate the practical benefits of space applications and the opportunities available through international cooperation, particularly focusing on the needs of developing countries. One of the priority thematic areas of the Programme on Space Applications is GNSS technologies and their utilization for peaceful purposes.

The second UNISPACE Conference was held in 1982. Its purpose was to exchange information and experiences on recent developments in space science technology and to set in motion new ways of strengthening United Nations activities related to outer space. Among other things, UNISPACE II recommended the expansion of the Programme on Space Applications and a broadening of its mandate. This resulted in the establishment of the United Nations-affiliated Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education. Deliberations of the ICG have recommended to utilize the United Nations-affiliated Regional Centres as ICG Information Centres for training and information dissemination on global applications of GNSS and their benefits for humanity.

The third UNISPACE Conference was held in 1999. Its purpose was to increase the benefits for humanity from the applications of space science and technology. The Vienna Declaration, emanating from UNISPACE III put forth 33 recommendations. A unique mechanism formulated for the implementation of those recommendations was the formation of Action Teams, which were led by member States. The work carried out by the Action Team on GNSS lead the establishment of the International Committee on GNSS (ICG), involving both GNSS system providers and the GNSS user communities. As can be seen in this Tenth Meeting of ICG, the work of ICG is growing rapidly in line with the anticipation that GNSS applications will continue to grow in the coming years.

Distinguished delegates,

            It is a pleasure for me to inform that the year 2018 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first UNISPACE ("UNISPACE+50"), and this will be a fitting time to take stock of the role the three UNISPACE conferences played in global space governance. It has been 16 years since UNISPACE III, which was the last United Nations global conference of the previous millennium. Much has changed in the global space enterprise since the beginning of the twenty-first century, and it is appropriate for the space community to recognize what has been accomplished and look forward to what can be expected for the future, including by looking into the achievements of providers and users of positioning, navigation, and timing services in promoting GNSS over the past 10 years and the role of the ICG in future GNSS developments and their implications for civil use and performance.

The field of GNSS continues to develop as an instrument of international cooperation among the satellite operators of the current and planned systems and their augmentations. The ability to locate one's position or the position of various objects accurately and reliably is a growing need in our modern economies, with wide-ranging implications for the environment, the management of natural resources, disaster warning and emergency response, to name a few. Particularly for developing countries, GNSS applications offer cost-effective solutions to pursue economic and social growth while preserving the environment, thus promoting sustainable development.

It is in this context that leading towards 2018, a series of high level fora: Space as a Driver for Socioeconomic Sustainable Development will be organized by the Office for Outer Space Affairs beginning in 2016. This series of high level fora will be a unique opportunity for the collective space community to address the cross-sectoral impact of integrating economic, environmental, social, policy and regulatory dimensions of space in pursuance of global sustainable development. This series is also intended to facilitate constructive dialogue between policy-makers and key stakeholders from different parts of government, civil society, business and industry, to address the broader perspective of space economy, space society, space accessibility and space diplomacy.

Distinguished delegates

I wish you successful deliberations in the coming days for implementing the programme of this Meeting. The Office for Outer Space Affairs is looking forward to cooperate with the membership of ICG in the future for the benefit of all Member States of the United Nations.

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