UN guidelines for long-term sustainability of outer space adopted

Stephen Kuper

During its 62nd session, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) adopted a preamble and 21 guidelines for the long-term sustainability of space activities.

UN guidelines for long-term sustainability of outer space adopted
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These provide guidance on policy and regulatory framework for space activities; safety of space operations; international co-operation, capacity-building and awareness; and scientific and technical research and development.

This is the result of more than eight years of work by a working group of the committee and efforts by experts from its 92 member states, with support provided by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

The committee encourages states and international intergovernmental organisations to voluntarily take measures to ensure that the guidelines are implemented to the greatest extent feasible and practicable. It also noted that the committee should serve as the principal forum for continued dialogue on issues related to the implementation and review of the guidelines.

Also at this session, the committee decided to establish a new working group to continue work on the long-term sustainability of space activities.

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Peter Martinez, the chair of the working group on the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, which concluded its mandate last year, commented, "This is a historic moment for the committee. It represents a significant step forward for ensuring the long-term sustainability of space activities, so that present and future generations from all countries can continue to enjoy the benefits of the peaceful exploration and use of outer space."

The chair of the 62nd session of the committee, Andre Rypl, said, "We started this session talking about how we at COPUOS make the impossible possible. We have done just that. The guidelines on the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and, more importantly, the decision to move forward and advance the concept of sustainability in space, is probably the most significant achievement of COPUOS in a decade".

Simonetta Di Pippo, director of UNOOSA, commented, "The office looks forward to continuing its efforts to assist states in capacity-building in space science, technology, law and policy. Ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities forms a key part of this work."

The draft report of COPUOS is available here

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