The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was first set up in 1958, shortly after the launch of the Sputnik satellite, and officially created by resolution 1472 of the United Nations General Assembly in 1959. It 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. The Committee has two subsidiary bodies: the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, and the Legal Subcommittee. It has 76 member states.
Jean-Yves Le Gall took to the podium at this session of COPUOS to speak on the theme of “Postscript to COP21: space working for climate and growth”. CNES’s President emphasized the historic agreement achieved at the COP21 last December in Paris and the key role of satellites which, as well as observing 26 of the 50 essential climate variables defined by the IPCC, are proving a crucial ally in efforts to curb climate change. He also pointed to the recent adoption of the New Delhi Declaration, which came into effect on 16 May, through which the world’s space agencies have committed to joining forces to combat global warming.
This declaration coincides with the development of a new generation of satellites designed to monitor greenhouse gases, with CNES’s MicroCarb, which will track carbon gases, and CNES and DLR’s MERLIN satellite that will measure methane concentrations in the atmosphere. Jean-Yves Le Gall also touched on the transformation of the space sector being driven by SmartSpace, with space systems that are becoming ever smaller, modular, flexible, scalable and diverse, and the development of space applications. He stressed that it is CNES’s role to keep investing in innovation for telecommunications, Earth observation and space science.
Jean-Yves Le Gall also made a statement on behalf of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) as its Incoming President ahead of the start of his mandate in September.