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Fourth Committee

(New York, October 21, 2009)

Statement by Ambassador Claudia Blum, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations, Item 30: International Cooperation for the use of outer space for peaceful purposes


Mister President:

My delegation adheres itself to the statement made by the Delegation of Uruguay, on behalf of the Member States of MERCOSUR and Associate States.

We are thankful for the briefing presented by the President of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Ambassador Ciro Arévalo, concerning the work developed by the COPUOS during its 52nd session.

Mister President,

On this year, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space completes five decades of work; I would like to highlight the achieved goals in the promotion of spatial international cooperation, and the development of legal principles that assure the pacific use of outer space. We would like to reaffirm the principles that guide this task:

• The principle of access to outer space in conditions of equality among all States, without any discrimination, independently from its level of scientific, technological or economic development

• The principle of Non Appropriation of outer space

• Non Militarization and its use strictly for the enhancement of the living conditions and peace among the peoples

• And regional cooperation on the realization of space activities

Today, the benefits of the pacific use of outer space are much closer to the population. The contributions of COPUOS have resulted fundamental in the promotion of a better understanding of the interaction between the behavior of the systems of the earth and human development.

My country attaches great importance to placing space Technologies at the service of society and sustainable development. The United Nations Program on Space Applications includes thematic issues that are a priority for developing countries. Among them, the management of natural resources, supervision of the natural environment, disaster response, long distance education, long distance medical practice and basic spatial science.

From these subjects, I would like to point out the first time inclusion in the agenda of the COPUOS, of the topic on climate change, one of the most important challenges of our time. The recent realization of the Forum on spatial Technologies and spatial information for the analysis and prediction of climate change carried out in the Republic of Korea constitutes an important contribution made by COPUOS. This event gave as a result several important conclusions and recommendations that will serve as a contribution for the Conference on climate change in Copenhagen.

Mister President,

International Cooperation for education and training on the field of spatial technology is indispensable. Particularly those efforts directed to strengthen the research and training centers on thematic areas of priority established on the United Nations Program on Space Applications. Through international cooperation the possibility that developing countries can receive, interpret and process spatial data is materialized.

With this purpose, it has resulted fundamental, in my country's case, the creation of the Colombian Space Commission on 2006 with the mission of supporting the strategies of effort integration and investment optimization on national programs that are strategic on this area.

It is of special importance to Colombia, the promotion of capacities on space law. We support the initiatives for cooperation that lead to the training of the different States on this area. It is encouraging to learn that the Legal Sub-Committee has before it a project for a program of studies for a basic course on space law to be undertaken by the Regional Centers for Space Science and Technology affiliated with the UN.

I would also like to point out, in this sense, the relationship that COPUOS has been establishing with the other organs of the United Nations System through the Inter-Agency Committee, and with institutions at the global level that are playing a role that is more important everyday, on outer space issues. The experiences gained with the International Astronautical Federation, the International Institute of Space Law, and the International Academy of Astronautics, are a great example of this.

My delegation considers that a greater participation of regional groups, specially from Latin America, in the organs that make decisions at these institutions, would allow a greater dissemination of their knowledge and objectives. Besides, it would be a concrete manifestation of the proposal of the inter regionalization of space activities, including the United Nations' initiative on space policy.

Colombia would like to reiterate its commitment with regional cooperation. We value the experience offered by the Space Conference of the Americas and we welcome Mexico's initiative to host the headquarters and the Secretariat Pro Tempore of the VI Space Conference of the Americas. We also welcome the initiative taken by the Government of Chile to organize the preparatory meeting of this Conference on July 2010, in Santiago de Chile.

My country wishes outmost success on this task and offers its support to continue advancing on the purposes contained on the San Francisco de Quito Declaration, and the Action Plan approved on the Fifth Conference.

Mister President,

As the Technical and Scientific Affairs Sub Committee has pointed out, the geostationary orbit is a limited natural resource which runs the risk of becoming saturated. Its use should be based on the principle of rational and equitable access to all countries. Recognizing this reality; it becomes indispensable that the particular necessities of developing countries and the geographical position of certain countries are taken into account.

Lastly, I would like, to welcome the proposal presented by the President of the Committee, Ambassador Ciro Arevalo, of a "U. N. Space Policy". This initiative offers a coordination horizon among the Member States and the United Nation's System on the application of space science and technology that consults with the development needs of all countries. One of its perspectives is to avoid fragmentation from the geographic and thematic point of view, and the strengthening of interdisciplinary cooperation within the Organization.

My Delegation considers that the objective proposed with the initiative will allow the UN to face more efficient way the challenges that the present international reality poses on this field.

Thank you very much, Mister President


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