For information only - not an official document

20 June 2014

Outer space: an integral part of the international community's global commitments on sustainable development

VIENNA, 20 June (UN Information Service) - "We salute the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its rich history of promoting international cooperation in space for the benefit of people on Earth," said astronaut Steve Swanson  in a video message from the International Space Station to the 57th session of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) that closed today.

The Committee meets once a year at the Vienna International Centre to promote international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. It is a unique platform at the global level for enhancing efforts to strengthen the role of space tools for sustainable development.

Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna (UNOV), told the session: "This 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."

This year, the Committee made progresson discussions related to space for sustainable development. The decision was taken to have a panel discussion during the General Assembly Fourth Committee when it meets in New York in October, on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space and the post-2015 development agenda in the context of sustainable development.

During the 10 days of the session, the Committee also considered an intensive programme with agenda items including the long-term sustainability of space activities, space and climate change, the use of space technology in the United Nations system and the spin-off benefits of space technology. The report of the Committee will be presented for approval to the 69  th session of the General Assembly.   

In his closing remarks today, the Committee Chairman, Azzedine Oussedik, said: "We have worked hard to increase awareness at all levels of the role of space-based technology and information as enablers for the attainment of the goals and objectives of the global development agenda."

A panel discussion on Italy's role in space for sustainable development on Earth took place on the margins of the session, with panellists including astronaut Samantha Christoferetti, who will become the first Italian woman in space in November 2014, UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo and astronaut Luca Parmitano.

There were  ceremonies welcoming the donations of a painting of Copernicus, a model LEM satellite from Poland and a full-scale model of the YUTU Lunar Rover from China to the UNOOSA space exhibit., Di Pippo highlighted at those events how space activities can only exist within a sphere of international cooperation.

The  video of the message from the International Space Station, featuring Swanson and fellow astronaut Reid Wiseman, to COPUOS as well as photos from the session and the various side events can be found  here:


The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, a United Nations entity with around 30 staff, and based in Vienna, with offices in Bonn and in Beijing for the UN-SPIDER programme, stands at the centre of international efforts to bring the benefits of space technology to meet global development needs and protect and preserve the Earth and space environment, with the prime mandate to serve the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space  and its Subcommittees. A video presenting the work of the Office is found at

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For further information, please contact:

Sinead  Harvey 
Associate Programme Officer, UNOOSA 
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-8718 
Email: sinead.harvey[at] 

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