Statement by Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo, Director, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

8 September 2015, New York

Mr Secretary-General, Mrs. Ban,

Honoured guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I speak to you all at this closing ceremony for the exhibition "My Planet from Space: Fragility and Beauty". This spectacular exhibit fits in well to such illustrious surroundings and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs was delighted to work with the European Space Agency to bring it here.

In this same building, in just under three weeks, Member States will meet for adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The global changes necessary to achieve the proposed Sustainable Development Goals are huge. Space can and will play a vital role in facilitating the transition to a sustainable Earth, and it has been the aim of this exhibit to show just how important space is in enabling the realisation of this new sustainable development agenda.

In particular, the exhibit draws attention to the necessity of space tools to monitor climate change. Satellite data shows rises in sea-level, loss of polar ice, atmospheric temperature rise, etc. Such space-based information is absolutely essential for policy-makers and governments worldwide, who have the shared responsibility to act and legislate for climate change mitigation.

The images in this exhibit, though indeed beautiful as works of art, highlight the devastating effects that climate change has had on our planet.

At the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Sendai, Japan, in March of this year, UNOOSA took a leading role in ensuring that Earth observation and the use of space-based technologies be included in the Sendai framework. During the Conference, UNOOSA, alongside our partners, launched the Global Earth Observation Partnership which aims to ensure the inclusion of Earth Observation and satellite-based tools into global efforts for disaster risk reduction.

As Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, I believe that space can, and will inevitably, be pivotal in curtailing global warming through the use of remote sensing technologies from space. In light of the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change known as COP21 to be held in Paris in 2015, I hope that this exhibit has brought to the attention of the international community, the sheer importance of space in helping to combat climate change.

My Office works hard to promote the equal use of space for the benefit of humankind. As Secretariat to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, my Office facilitates the cooperative efforts of all space-faring nations to opening space technologies up for the benefit of all. International cooperation is a necessary driver for bringing the growing numbers of benefits derived from space science and technology applications to both developing and developed countries in their common pursuit of attaining the objectives of the global development agenda beyond this year.

With the upcoming adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, there is a growing recognitionthat this major agenda calls for stronger space governance and supporting structures at all levels, including improved spatial data infrastructure. As a result, in 2018 the UNISPACE+50 conference will mark the 50th anniversary of the first UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE I). This conference, taking place in Vienna, will align to the 2030 Agenda where stronger space governance and supporting structures are required to protect the space environment and secure the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. All Member States are invited to attend and to share in shaping the space agenda. UN-Space, the inter-agency meeting on Outer Space Activities, under the leadership of UNOOSA, will also be aligning its activities with the themes of UNISPACE+50 and so I hereby invite all UN entities under UN-Space to take this opportunity to help guiding the discussion on a new and strengthened agenda for space.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the exhibits committee of the UN for making it possible to host the exhibit and this event tonight.

Finally, I invite you all, as you enjoy the reception, to take some time to tour through this exhibit once again. I believe that the images here will resonate in future debates to preserve the fragility and beauty of our planet.

Thank you.


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