57th COPUOS session opened: Outer Space for a sustainable Earth

"Challenges to our society, including that of global climate change, and to food security and global health, are all interlinked with disasters, and we need a holistic approach," said Mr. Azzedine Oussedik of Algeria, as he accepted election to the Chair of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and opened the 57th session on 11 June 2014.

"We note the need to increase awareness at the global level to fully recognize the importance of space tools and space-derived geospatial information to meet the objectives of the global development agenda."

The Committee is the primary body advancing international cooperation and increasing awareness of the peaceful uses of outer space. The Committee runs until 20 June with a busy agenda including consideration of space and development, which builds upon the momentum from the Rio+20 Outcome Document where governments recognized the importance of space-technology-based data for sustainable development.

In her opening speech, Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), said that "the Committee, its subsidiary bodies and the Office have together a unique opportunity to mobilize support and commitment at the global level for increasing the role of space-based technology and information as an enabler of the goals and objectives of the post-2015 development agenda".

The Committee will consider the long-term sustainability of space activities and, in particular, a consolidated set of draft guidelines on long-term sustainability, including issues such as the use of space to support sustainable development on earth, space debris, space-situational awareness, space weather and the regulatory framework for space activities.

The Space Mission Planning Advisory Group will meet 12-13 June to continue to prepare for an international response to a Near-Earth Object impact threat (further details at http://cosmos.esa.int/web/smpag/home). The full agenda can be found at http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/COPUOS/2014/index.html

The extensive agenda is supplemented by a variety of side events, open to persons accredited to the VIC:

Wednesday, 11 June at 2.45 p.m

  • A copy of the famous painting of Nicolaus Copernicus and a model of the first Polish scientific satellite "LEM" will be donated by Poland with a ceremony in the VIC.

Wednesday, 11 June at 6 p.m.

  • Inauguration of the exhibition African Space Activities. The exhibition will be on display 11-20 June.

Friday, 13 June at 1 p.m.

  • Donation ceremony and reception for the small scale model of the Yutu 3 Lunar Rover by China in the VIC.

Monday, 16 June at 4.30 p.m.

  • The Natural History Museum, Vienna, will hold a talk by NASA astronaut Alvin Drew on the "The Future of Human Spaceflight".

Tuesday, 17 June at 1 p.m.

  • Panel discussion with Samantha Cristoforetti, who will become the first woman astronaut from Italy in November 2014 when she begins her mission to the International Space Station, and UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo.

The UNOOSA permanent space exhibit, and its new additions, is open to the public as part of the VIC tours. Media representatives who wish to attend the side events and who are not accredited to the VIC should contact press [at] unvienna.org