Press Release

United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to Hold 51st Session in Vienna

By SpaceRef Editor
June 10, 2008
Filed under ,

The Use of Satellite Technology for Sustainable Development among Topics

VIENNA, 10 June (UN Information Service) – The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) will hold its 51st session in Vienna, Austria, from 11 to 20 June.

Topics on the agenda include “Ways and means of maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes”, “Spin-off benefits of space technology”, “Use of space-derived geospatial data for sustainable development”, “Space and water” and “Space and society.” With the special theme “Space and Education”, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) will present its education and capacity-building programme. The Committee is also to discuss issues raised in the reports of its two Subcommittees – the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee – on their sessions earlier this year. These include the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), space debris, near-earth objects, global navigation satellite systems, a safety framework for nuclear power sources in outer space, and capacity-building in space law.

At the beginning of the session, the Committee will elect its new officers for the biennium 2008-2009, which starts at the upcoming session.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States, the Committee will also host NASA Deputy Administrator Ms. Shana Dale who will present an overview of the past 50 years and outline the future horizons of NASA.

Implementation of the Recommendations of UNISPACE III

In accordance with the implementation of the recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), the Committee continues to contribute to the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development on cross-cutting issues such as the use of space technology for food security and water management. At this session, the Committee will prepare its contribution to the Commission’s thematic cluster 2010-2011, which places special emphasis on transport, chemicals, waste management, mining, as well as on consumption and production patterns.

Space and Water

The Committee will consider reports on regional and national water resource management initiatives that involve the use of space technology, in order to contribute meaningfully to meeting Millennium Development Goal 7, which calls for “cutting in half, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”.

Use of Space-derived Geospatial Data for Sustainable Development

This is a new agenda item that the Committee is considering under a multi-year work plan from 2007 to 2009. At the current session delegations are invited to make expert presentations on experiences in the establishment of appropriate national infrastructure for space-derived geospatial data collection, processing and application, including human resource training, technical infrastructure and institutional arrangements.

Other Matters

The Committee will consider applications for permanent observer status with COPUOS by the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (EUTELSAT-IGO), the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) and the Secure World Foundation (SWF). Under “Other Matters” the Committee will also continue to discuss its future role and activities.

Exhibition “Space and Planet Earth”

In celebration of the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) that was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly and runs from January 2007 to December 2009, the Office of Outer Space Affairs, in cooperation with the IYPE Secretariat and GEOSPACE International, will hold a poster exhibition throughout June on how space technology helps observe, monitor and protect the Earth’s environment. The exhibition can be viewed as part of a guided tour of the Vienna International Centre.


The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space has the following 69 Member States: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Viet Nam.

The following intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations have permanent observer status with COPUOS: African Organization of Cartography and Remote Sensing, Association of Space Explorers, Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, Committee on Space Research, Regional Centre for Remote Sensing of the North African States, Eurisy, European Space Agency, European Space Policy Institute, International Academy of Astronautics, International Astronautical Federation, International Astronomical Union, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, International Law Association, International Mobile Satellite Organization, Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications, International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, International Space University, National Space Society, Space Generation Advisory Council, The Planetary Society and World Spaceweek Association.


The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to review the scope of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programmes in this field to be undertaken under United Nations auspices, to encourage continued research and the dissemination of information on outer space matters and to study legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space. COPUOS and its two Subcommittees each meet annually to consider questions put before them by the General Assembly, reports submitted to them and issues raised by the Member States. The Committee and its Subcommittees, working on the basis of consensus, make recommendations to the General Assembly.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, and assisting developing countries in using space science and technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at

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For further information, please contact:

Romana Kofler
Associate Programme Officer, UNOOSA
Telephone: +43 1 26060-4962,

Guided tours information and reservation:

Visitors Service
Tel: (+43-1) 26060-3328
Fax: (+43-1) 26060-5991

SpaceRef staff editor.