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 the 54th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee in Vienna, Jean-Yves Le Gall, in his capacity as President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), presented the federation and its annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC). He then set out IAF’s Global Innovation Agenda 2016-2019, driven by three guiding principles: preserving its heritage and building on existing strengths; listening and opening up to the world, in particular promoting geographical, generational and gender (3G) diversity in the space sector; and preparing the future under the federation’s motto “Connecting @ll Space People”, which reflects its determination to build bridges between established space powers and new entrants, and to welcome new players into the fold.
He then opened the first IAF Symposium, on the theme “Space: What is at stake in 2017 and 2018”, and introduced its high-level speakers. He also noted the key upcoming events that IAF is organizing this year, the Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX) in Beijing, China, from 6-8 June, and the 68th IAC from 25-29 September in Adelaide, Australia.
On the sidelines of these gatherings, Jean-Yves Le Gall met Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), to discuss the many daily applications of space and the major challenges for the year ahead. In particular, they talked about the successful first international conference on safeguarding endangered cultural heritage organized at the initiative of President François Hollande in Abu Dhabi last December, and preparations for the UNISPACE+50 conference in 2018 celebrating the 50th anniversary of UNISPACE I, the first Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.