Officially created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1959, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) is tasked with reviewing international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, studying space-related activities that could be undertaken by the United Nations, encouraging space research programmes and studying legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space. It has 76 member states and two subsidiary bodies—the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, and the Legal Subcommittee.
At this 56th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, Jean-Yves Le Gall, in his capacity as IAF President, underlined the considerable enthusiasm for the Federation, which has 366 members representing 68 countries. He also touched on the growing success of the IAC (International Astronautical Congress) and in particular of its 2018 edition in Bremen, Germany, which attracted more than 6,500 experts from 83 countries and more than 10,000 visitors on its Public Day.
He went on to discuss the IAF’s upcoming events. These centre around its key theme of “A spacefaring world cooperating for the benefit of humanity” and its guiding motto of « Connecting @ll Space People”, reflecting the IAF’s determination to build bridges between established space powers and new entrants and to welcome new players into the fold. The events include GLEC 2019 (Global Conference on Space for Emerging countries), to be held in Marrakesh from 24-26 April; the 70th IAC, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, to be held in Washington from 21-25 October; the 71st IAC in Dubai in 2020; and the 72nd IAC in Paris in 2021.
The session’s agenda covered several points, in particular space techniques for sustainable socio-economic development, space and world health, space debris, and the use of space systems for managing major disasters—all topics to which CNES is highly committed. Also discussed was UNISPACE+50, an initiative supported by CNES from the start, which marked the 50th anniversary of the very first United Nations conference on peaceful uses of outer space. The session then went on to discuss the Space2030 agenda in the lead up to its adoption in 2020, with France wanting it aimed at maintaining access to the peaceful and sustainable use of space, to the benefit of all nations. UNISPACE+50 demonstrated the important role played by this Subcommittee and by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs in managing international agendas with regard to the Space2030 agenda.