The CHAIRMAN(interpretation from Spanish): I would like to thank the distinguished representative of Turkey for his statement.
The next speaker on the list is the distinguished representative of Pakistan. The Ambassador of Pakistan, it is a great pleasure to give you the floor.
Mr. R. HUSSAIN (Pakistan): Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, allow me in the first place to convey my delegation’s pleasure and satisfaction, Mr. Chairman, chairing the current session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. With rapid developments in the field of space technology, the work of our Committee has become more complex and sensitive. My delegation believes that the Committee has conducted its work admirably in the past in facing quite serious challenges under your able and apt stewardship and we look forward to a meaningful progress during this session as well.
The Committee is also fortunate enough to be assisted in a significant manner by Dr. Karl Doetsch and Dr. Vladimir Kopal in their capacities as Chairmen of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee respectively. My delegation would like to convey its deep appreciation to these two distinguished personalities for the outstanding work they are doing in their respective Subcommittees.
Mr. Chairman, Pakistan’s national space agency, SUPARCO, made considerable headway in its projects for peaceful applications of space sciences and technology. As part of its long-term space science and technology development programme, SUPARCO has arranged for placement into the geostationary orbit a domestic communication satellite system, PAKSAT. As a result of the negotiations conducted with M/s Hughes Global Services, lately now incorporated in PANAMSAT, their satellite HGS-1 has been acquired on a five-year lease by the Government of Pakistan for positioning at 38 degrees East orbital location. The satellite, renamed as PAKSAT-1, was successfully relocated at the desired position on 20 December 2002 and made operational. The primary objective of the system is to develop local capability in the private and public sectors for development of the second generation satellite system and necessary ground infrastructure, in particular VSAT and Direct Satellite Receiving System, to fulfil national telecommunication requirements. PAKSAT-1 has 34 transponders for use in the various communication needs of the country including remote rural telephony services, distance learning programmes and other communications services.
SUPARCO has also plans to launch its Earth Observation Satellite System in the near future with a sun-synchronous, circular 600-800 kilometre orbit. The data obtained from the Earth Observation Satellite System would be integrated with GIS to provide images, value-added data, products and services to support the decision-makers and users community in their projects to assist in the development process of the country.
The national space agency continued to register good progress in its other R&D programmes relating to atmospheric sciences, natural resource management and environmental surveying, satellite meteorology and atmospheric pollution monitoring.
Mr. Chairman, the national space agency SUPARCO co-organized an International Workshop on Satellite Imaging Technology and Applications at Karachi, from 22 to 28 January 2003, to provide an appropriate forum for engineers, scientists, researchers, to present their views, discuss new trends and developments and exchange experience in the state-of-the-art technology on imaging sensors, optical systems, on-board image processing and storage, data acquisition and transmission to ground. There were 63 technical presentations, including nine country papers in the Workshop which was attended by over 70 scientists, engineers and decision-makers.
Mr. Chairman, my delegation would like to make contributions during the deliberations on the other agenda items as and when they are taken up in the current session. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN(interpretation from Spanish): I thank the distinguished representative of Pakistan for his statement. I would also like to take this opportunity to greet the Ambassador of Pakistan and my friend, distinguished Professor Shah from the same delegation.
I now give the floor to the distinguished representative of Malaysia who was someone we have many good memories of as the former Director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs, Madam Othman of Malaysia.
Ms. M. OTHMAN (Malaysia): Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, on behalf of the delegation of Malaysia, I would like to express our satisfaction at seeing you in the Chair and congratulate you and other members of the Bureaux of the Committee. We are confident that under your leadership of the Committee we will be able to conduct our business effectively and thus achieve our common objectives.
We would also like to thank Austria under the leadership of Ambassador Walther Lichem for the momentous efforts in resolving the issues related to the membership of the Bureaux. We trust that, at least until the year 2025, we can all peacefully and effectively address problems, challenges and issues facing the Committee.
Mr. Chairman, we reported at the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee meeting in February on the establishment of the National Space Agency of Malaysia in 2002. This Agency is now laying the roadmap for the national space programme, which includes the implementation of the satellite programme and the ratification of the United Nations space treaties and Conventions. We hope that in all of these various activities, we will be able to work closely with other member States who are interested in collaborating on achieving common goals, including technology transfer, scientific missions and training programmes.
We also proposed at the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee meeting to lead the Action Team for recommendation 9, Improve Knowledge-Sharing Through the Promotion of Universal Access to Space-Based Communication Services. We are extremely pleased that several member States have now proposed names of experts for this Action Team. Although it was planned that the first meeting of the Action Team would take place in Thailand in May, this meeting is now postponed to September 2003.
We propose to hold an Action Team 9 meeting tomorrow, Thursday, at 1.00 p.m., to discuss the draft we have prepared on the Team’s objective, work plan and principle products. We have also prepared for discussion the draft of a statement of COPUOS that might be delivered at the World Summit on the Information Society to highlight the role of space technology in bridging the digital divide.
Our delegation looks forward to working with other member States in moving Action Team 9 and we hope to also participate in other Action Teams.
Mr. Chairman, Malaysia is planning to host, either at the end of 2003 or early 2004, the UNIDROIT Space Working Group Meeting to discuss the preliminary draft of the Space Protocol.
We will be making further interventions under the appropriate agenda items throughout this meeting.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN(interpretation from Spanish): I thank the distinguished representative of Malaysia for her statement.
I now give the floor to the distinguished representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Mr. A. A. AMIDIAN (Islamic Republic of Iran): In the Name of God, Mr. Chairman, at the outset, my delegation would like to join other distinguished delegations in extending my happiness for seeing you again chairing the deliberations of the Committee. In the meantime, I would like to extend the interest of my delegation to continuously support the Office for Outer Space Affairs, COPUOS and its Subcommittees in achieving their goals.
My delegation also extends its deep condolence to Algeria for the damage in Algeria due to the earthquake.
Mr. Chairman, due to the evident and vital importance of space science and technology in the sustained development of the country, its application has begun in Iran since 1977 by the membership of the country in the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, Intelsat, and installation and use of the Standard A Station in Asad Abad in Hamedan Province. Development of different applications of space science and technology caused increasing attention by the authorities in the organizations and institutions. This led to the idea of establishing an organization to cover all the space-related activities and issues in the country. However, to realize this idea, we had to wait a quarter of a century.
Mr. Chairman, it is of great honour for me today to announce that after a challenging effort beginning from 1977, finally the Iranian Parliament approved the bill for the establishment of the Iranian Space Agency, ISA, early in April this year. ISA when established will cover and support all the activities in the Islamic Republic of Iran concerning the peaceful applications of space science and technology. According to this bill, “Aiming to Apply Space Technology and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and Protecting National Interests and Sustained Exploitation of Space Science and Technology for Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technical Development of the Country”, the Supreme Space Council with the leadership of the President is being established.
The Council’s goals include:
One, policy-making for the application of space technologies aiming peaceful uses of outer space.
Two, policy-making in manufacturing, launching and use of the national and research satellites.
Three, approving the space-related programmes of State and private institutions and organizations.
Four, approving long- and short-term programmes of the country’s space sector.
Five, promoting the partnership of the private and cooperative sectors in efficient uses of space.
Six, identifying guidelines concerning the regional and international cooperation in space issues and clarifying the position of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the above-mentioned bodies.
To achieve the above-mentioned goals, the Iranian Space Agency affiliated to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is being established. The Director of ISA will be the Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology. The Secretariat of the Supreme Space Council will be based in the Iranian Space Agency and the Director of ISA will act as the Secretary of the Supreme Space Council.
Mr. Chairman, my delegation would like to take this opportunity to invite all the interested members of COPUOS as well as organizations in national and international levels to cooperate with ISA in this respect. We believe that space as the common heritage of mankind equally should be explored and exploited peacefully for the benefit and welfare of all people throughout the world and for the sustainable development of all the nations.
Mr. Chairman, space technology emerges as a vital and important tool for the development in the national and international levels. It has led to advances in various fields of our activities, from management and control of natural disasters to navigation and from monitoring of the natural resources and the environment to tele-health and tele-education. In light of the UNISPACE III that identified all these possibilities and the potential of space science and technology, the nations have had the opportunity to work together for the implementation of its aims. The recommendations of UNISPACE III can help us to achieve objectives provided by the United Nations and support major initiatives being undertaken to promote human development. In this direction, the Islamic Republic of Iran participates in the Action Team activities as the member and particularly co-chairs the Action Team number 1 of the recommendations of UNISPACE III, “Develop a Comprehensive World-Wide Environmental Monitoring Strategy”, jointly with the Republic of Syria and the Russian Federation. The Team follows its aims and tasks orderly and will organize its fourth meeting on 13 June 2003 in the margins of the present COPUOS meeting. It is hoped that the Team will submit its draft report to the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of COPUOS in due time.
Mr. Chairman, in order to promote the space science and technology applications in the Islamic Republic of Iran, we believe that we should develop the international cooperation and transfer of knowledge and experiences through the joint regional and international activities such as implementation of research and scientific as well as technical projects and organizing the seminars and symposia. The Joint International Workshop of the Applications of Space Science and Technology for Disaster Management focusing on sustainable development and environment protection that will be organized by the United Nations, European Space Agency and the Iranian Remote Sensing Centre is such an effort that is planned for the year 2004. This Workshop will have the advantage of the leading and unique role of Iran in the region in relation to the various disasters. Iran is amongst the 10 countries with the highest number of natural disasters in the world and in Asia it is the fourth country after India, China and Bangladesh. My delegation believes that planning for organizing the above-mentioned international workshop will draw further and positive attention of the international community to the issue of natural and human-induced disasters and will persuade for joining forces of different countries and relevant international organizations to find convenient solutions for control and managing the disasters in the region through sharing of knowledge, experience and available potentials and capabilities.
Mr. Chairman, with the aim to develop the infrastructure for the application of space science and technology in the country, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues the work through providing the possibilities for in-depth education in space science and technology applications in the country. Presently a considerable number of courses on the applications of space science and technology have been scheduled in the education programme of different universities throughout the country in post-graduate level. These courses include satellite communications, remote sensing and geo-information systems, satellite meteorology, atmospheric and space studies and so on. While the efforts in this connection are being carried out continuously, the subject of establishing a specialized centre dedicated only to the in-depth and short- as well as medium-term education of space science and technology applications based on the approved international standards is being followed up in parallel.
My delegation supports the idea of establishing the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education of Iran as a node of the network of centres for space science and technology education in the Asia-Pacific region. For the beginning, we have planned two bi-weekly courses on satellite communications and remote sensing, GIS and SPS provisionally for late 2003. On the other hand, we emphasize on our readiness to join the Board of Governors of the Centre for Education of Space Science and Technology in the Asia-Pacific region based in India. We hope that the official arrangements for joining the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Centre will provide this opportunity as soon as possible. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN(interpretation from Spanish): Thank you very much to the distinguished representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
I now give the floor to the distinguished representative of Portugal.
Mr. F. D. SANTOS (Portugal): Thank you Mr. Chairman. On behalf of the Portuguese delegation, I wish to express our satisfaction at seeing you as Chairman of this Committee. We are convinced that under your leadership we will be able to make progress on the important issues on our agenda and to achieve our common objectives. The Portuguese delegation also wishes to congratulate the Austrian Ambassador, Dr. Walther Lichem, for his successful work to establish a consensus for a new approach and a rotation scheme for the future composition of the Bureaux of the Committee and its subsidiary bodies. Let me assure you that the Portuguese delegation will fully support the work of this Committee.
Mr. Chairman, allow me now to review briefly some space activities in Portugal since the last meeting of COPUOS.
Portuguese space policy is strongly influenced by its membership of the European Union and by the accession to international organizations related to space, namely the European Space Agency and the European Southern Observatory.
Space activities in Portugal are now coordinated by the Office for International Relations in Science and Higher Education which supports the Ministry of Science and Higher Education from which it receives the budget to fund the mandatory activities of the European Space Agency, the Aurora and the EGNOS programmes. The other Agency optional programmes, Telecommunications and Galileo programme, are financed by organizations that depend on other Ministries and during the last year, there was a considerable activity of the Portuguese industry with proposals for new projects.
Portugal is also a member of EUMETSAT and participates in the development of the Land SAF, while in the coming years it may subscribe to ESA’s Earth Observation Programme and also it may apply to the Future Launchers Programme.
Recently a structure to support the Portuguese participation in space-related matters has been established. The Portuguese Space Office was created in the first trimester of 2003 under the coordination of the Office for International Relations in Science and Space Education. This Office is supported by a recently implemented Advisory Council for Space which is formed by the delegates to ESA, to COPUOS, as well as advisors linked to industry and research.
We attach great importance to the fact that one of the top priorities of this Advisory Council is to prepare a National Strategy for Space that will guide the future participation of Portugal in the space field.
The programme regarding Portuguese participation in ESA and NASA that was launched by the Ministry for Science and Higher Education was reinforced aiming at the participation of research institutions and enterprises in projects of the ESA Scientific Programme and under the Protocol that was signed between Portugal and NASA.
Portugal is also participating in the EUSO collaboration, the Extreme Universe Space Observatory, and which is currently in the ES Phase A and is responsible for the Science Operation and Data Center report. This facility is to be installed in a European country member of the Collaboration and ensures the scientific mission control and planning, addressing the issues of data collection, monitoring and archiving.
I would also like to mention a few activities which have been going on in the last year. In the research centres of the University of Coimbra, which is involved in space-related research, the Astronomical Observatory has an activity in the field of solar physics and stellar evolution and the Instrumentation Centre has been collaborating in implementing a Gas Proportional Scintillation Counter for solar X-ray studies in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
There have been various space-related events which have been carried out during this period: a Workshop on the Investigation of the Solar System, organized by the University of Lisbon, a week dedicated to space matters by the Lisbon Technical University and a workshop organized by the Satellite Application Facility for Land Surface Analysis, which I mentioned before, Land SAF, organized in conjunction with EUMETSAT.
Finally, I would like to mention that the Portuguese delegation to COPUOS gives great importance to the implementation of the recommendations of the UNISPACE III Conference. We are participating actively in the process and we believe that its successful completion and application will be very useful and relevant. Furthermore, we believe that it will contribute significantly to the usefulness and capability of this Committee.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN(interpretation from Spanish): Thank you to the distinguished representative of Portugal for his statement.
I now have the pleasure of giving the floor to the distinguished representative of Germany.
Mr. K.-U. MUELLER (Germany): Mr. Chairman, first of all, the German delegation would like to wish you the best of success in chairing the Committee during its forty-sixth session. We also would like to thank the Office for Outer Space Affairs for its tremendous work and its tremendous support of the work of the Committee. We have an ambitious work schedule in front of us and my delegation is looking forward to discussing these important issues during the next few days.
The German delegation joins other delegations in commending and thanking Ambassador Lichem for his outstanding work which we fully support.
As the general exchange of views offers an opportunity to inform delegations on recent developments in space affairs, I would like to highlight some important space-related developments which have taken place in Germany and Europe.
Germany is strongly committed to European and international cooperation with all space-faring nations, especially within the framework of ESA. Therefore, Germany highly appreciates the results of the ESA Ministerial Council two weeks ago.
Under the chairmanship of Germany, the delegations agreed on steps to put Ariane 5 back on track and to set up the development of future launchers within a reorganized launcher sector. Furthermore, it was decided to release funds for the International Space Station and to strengthen the relationship between ESA and the European Union. Last but not least, the ESA members put on track the development phase of Galileo as a European navigation satellite system.
Mr. Chairman, German space-related activities are highly integrated in the European projects. On 2 June, as you are all aware of, was the successful launch of the European Mars Express at Baikonur. Germany, among other countries, contributes important hardware to Mars Express, like the drill PLUTO, the Planetary Underground Tool, for detailed rock and soil analysis, the HRSC, High Resolution Stereo Colour Imager, which will take more accurate and detailed images of the surface and atmosphere of Mars in full colour, 3D and at high resolution, and the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer, PFS, which will determine the composition of the Martian atmosphere.
Mr. Chairman, this year’s Committee will focus on a number of important issues. The German delegation will make contributions to several agenda items and hence, I will not go into details at this point of time.
I would like, however, to express our high appreciation with the progress which was made at the last session of the Legal Subcommittee dealing with the important legal concept of the launching State.
Germany, together with some other delegations, has proposed a draft United Nations General Assembly resolution on this subject. We are confident that we will reach a positive outcome of this matter during our session.
The German delegation wishes this year’s session of COPUOS the best of success. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN(interpretation from Spanish): Thank you very much to the distinguished representative of Germany.
Syria has the floor.
Mr. M. RUQIYAH (Syrian Arab Republic) (interpretation from Arabic): Mr. Chairman, the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic has the pleasure of expressing satisfaction at seeing you once again at the helm of this Committee in view of your great experience, your skills and your wisdom. We are optimistic, Mr. Chairman, and we are certain that all delegations represented here will show a spirit of cooperation and accomplish the results we have set out to accomplish.
We also thank Mr. Sergio Camacho, Director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs, for the work accomplished over the past year.
Mr. Chairman, we would also like to express our condolences to the people of Algeria for having suffered so much in the recent earthquake in that country. We would like to follow up on this disaster and improve our cooperation in terms of using outer space for the management and mitigation of natural disasters.
Mr. Chairman, we in Syria have been diligent in applying the principles outlined by the United Nations for the peaceful uses of outer space and cooperation with regional and international organizations with a view to promoting sustainable development.
I would like to sum up here some of the most important activities undertaken by our Space Agency in that regard.
First, in the area of the exploitation of agricultural resources, our Agency uses space applications with a view to implementing a number of projects that have practical value for agricultural development. We are engaged in the remote observation of the Earth study of soil, forest management, crop management, water preservation projects and projects aimed at improving agricultural productivity.
Second, in the area of geology and hydrology, our Agency has made ample use of remote sensing data to promote tectonic and geological studies, an in-depth look at the geological and tectonic structure of our land, prospecting for underground resources and providing water in periods of drought. We work together with national institutions with a view to optimizing the position of dams, retaining rainfall, improving the management of water resources. We have worked with Austria, and we would like to thank that country for that, in a joint study of arid areas that has been very beneficial for us and other developing countries.
Third, in the area of protecting the environment, our Agency attaches great importance to the observation of ecosystems and we have carried a series of research projects relating to the environment, specifically in the west and the south of the country focusing on identifying sources of natural pollution of the environment and mitigating their effect. We have made great progress in the work against desertification on our own and in cooperation with various national and regional institutions that toil in that specific area. Particularly we have been focusing in the study of floods and seismological patterns.
Fourth, we have also used remote sensing applications in a number of other areas such as, for example, identifying hidden or concealed archaeological sites, mapping cartographic area to improve the use of natural resources.
In the area of GNSS, Global Navigation Satellite Systems, we have used a GPS satellite to identify optimal positions for wells and also archaeological sites. We have promoted to the best of our ability the principles of peaceful uses of outer space, taken part in a number of seminars, workshops, carried out national sensitization days, launched educational projects, introduced matters pertaining to the peaceful uses of outer space in the curricula of higher education establishments in particular, as they apply to the best management of natural resources and the improvement of living standards in the developing countries.
Our Agency has established close technical, scientific and cultural links with various regional and interregional institutions, various inter-Arab institutions which has led to our active participation in such international meetings as the various regional seminars organized by COPUOS and in the work of COPUOS itself. We have followed very closely the work of this Committee. To quote but one example, a workshop will be held in Damascus in July 2003 on the use of remote sensing and the training of experts in that domain. Our Agency is also taking an active part in most Working Groups established and Action Teams established to pursue the implementation of the various recommendations of UNISPACE III. Particularly we are focusing on the use of GNSS, Global Navigation Satellite Systems, mitigation of natural disasters and the Action Team on the first recommendation of UNISPACE III, an international integrated strategy for the protection of the environment.
Mr. Chairman, we would like to thank you and COPUOS for the efforts undertaken to promote the use of outer space applications for the benefit of developing nations. Thank you.