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Erklärung zur Eröffnung der 62. Sitzung des VN-Weltraumausschusses, Wien, 12. bis 21. Juni 2019


COPUOS 62th Session, Vienna, 12-21 June 2019 

Item 4: General Exchange of Views

Federal Republic of Germany

Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of the German delegation let me congratulate you on your election and assure you of our full support. We would also like to express our gratitude to Ms. Rosa Maria Ramirez for her guidance throughout the last session.

We also thank the Office of Outer Space Affairs led by Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo for their outstanding work in preparation of this year’s meeting.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished Delegates,

Space is a valuable tool for the benefits of humankind and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Space technology could transform healthcare, agriculture and transportation, and many more areas besides but we must work with combined efforts to increase the benefits and preserve space for future generations. Germany understands that a multilateral approach is fundamental to achieving our objectives and to delivering advancements in science and technology for the benefit of all. In that regard we welcome the ever-increasing membership of COPUOS which demonstrates in our view the importance of preserving space for the benefit of all people.

With that goal in mind, it is now essential to continue to shape the „Space2030“ agenda and its implementation plan. Germany is actively engaged in the working group dedicated to this task and we would like to commend the bureau of the working group supported by the secretariat for their excellent leadership displayed during the previous meetings. The Space2030 agenda will lay out the path for COPUOS and its two subcommittees to address issues of sustainability of outer space activities, advance the global governance of outer space activities and strengthen research and technology, capacity-building and technical assistance in the field of space applications, policy and law.

For reinforcing global governance as an integral part of the Space 2030 Agenda and in support of the sustainable development of outer space activities the chair of the „Working Group on the Five UN treaties on Outer Space“, Dr. Bernhard Schmidt-Tedd, has issued in close consultation with the secretariat a Draft Guidance Document to the Legal Subcommittee. Germany would like to thank all delegations involved in the discussion and further evolution of the Document. The Guidance Document, to be published in 2020, shall assist states in their consideration of the legal regime and in acceding to the outer space treaties.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,

The agreement on 21 guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities has been evidence that COPUOS is well equipped to tackle the challenges related to increasing space activities and that the international community can reach consensus on many important issues related to the safe and sustainable use of outer space. Germany is convinced that member states need to maintain this constructive exchange and continue the work on the long-term sustainability of outer space activities through a dedicated mechanism such as a working group. On the basis of these considerations, Germany supports your efforts, Mr. Chairman, to reach a consensus on the mandate of such as working group. We also would like to express our appreciation to Swiss delegation for the informal discussion hosted on 11 June and thank all delegations that have contributed to the constructive discussions.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished Delegates,

during the past year, we have witnessed extraordinary international scientific and technical accomplishments in the field of space exploration. First we would like to congratulate Japan to its Habayusa 2- and China to its Chang'e 4-Mission. We are very pleased of having contributed to both outstanding missions with joint collaboration payloads. The SOFIA joint project between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) continues to provide excellent data and detected for the first time a small ion known as HeH+ in space. This particle played a key role in the early development of the Universe. We also congratulate NASA for the successful soft landing on the surface of Mars of its InSight spacecraft. And after its launch in October, the joint European Space Agency (ESA)-JAXA BepiColombo mission reached another important milestone when deploying its sensors that are now prepared to measure the magnetic field on the way to Mercury.

Finally, I would like to comment briefly about some activities in the German space program. As outlined in its space strategy, Germany sees space as a key to solving global challenges. To this end, we have placed a strong emphasis on measuring our space projects according to their contribution to social, economic and scientific objectives. I will give you some examples:

Forests are Earth's lungs; they help to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and thus counteract global warming, while also providing protection and resources for humans, animals and plants – and they are being lost at an alarming rate. The DLR has created a special dataset to monitor, assess, and protect the current state and development of this green organ with precision – the global TanDEM-X Forest/Non-Forest Map. It shows the extent of forested areas at a resolution of 50 metres and is now available free of charge to scientific users.

In respect of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai framework, and the Paris agreement, space data can support a better understanding of the processes that change the Earth. Therefore, Germany supports targeted projects such as EVIDENZ. This project develops solutions for observing drought risks based on space-based data. Results of the project will support the future work and cooperation of the UN University with UN Convention to Combat Desertification and UN-SPIDER.

With the EO College Portal the DLR, offers together with ESA massive open online courses about remote sensing – accessible from around the world, thereby contributing to space-related education without any barriers to participation.

To broaden and extend the benefits of space, Germany will continue to support international efforts such as:


the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters,

or the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites .

In this context, UN-SPIDER will bring together experts for a three-day international conference in November 2019 in Bonn, supported by DLR and the University of Bonn, to discuss the increased use of big data approaches and satellite technologies in African countries to respond to challenges posed by natural hazards.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me conclude by reiterating the importance Germany attaches to strengthening the role of this Committee and UNOOSA as a unique platform for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space and in space activities.

We thank you for your kind attention.


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