62nd Session, Vienna, 12-21 June 2019
Agenda Item 6: Report of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on its fifty-sixth session
Federal Republic of Germany
We thank the Office of Outer Space Affairs for their excellent work on the preparation of the report of this year’s session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee. We would also like to commend the chair Pontsho Maruping of South Africa for her excellent leadership over the past two years.
The STSC proved once again that it is an indispensable forum for the exchange of views on scientific and technical aspects of outer space activities and for fostering international cooperation in this regard.
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.
During STSC and this week’s informal meeting on LTS, we have carefully listened to the exchange of views on this topic. We thank Switzerland for having hosted this very important event. Germany shares the general sentiment of many delegations - that COPUOS has a unique role and is the right forum to address - today and in future - topics relevant to enhancing safety and sustainability of space activities and to continue the work on the long-term sustainability.
Regarding the crucial role of space data and technology in supporting decision-making and improved early warning measures in the public and global health domains, we welcome that the Working Group on Space and Global Health has begun its work at this year’s session of the Subcommittee under the Chairmanship of Antoine Geissbühler of Switzerland and that it has agreed on a multi-year workplan as well as a questionnaire on policies, experiences and practices in the use of space science and technology for global health. We believe this will allow a valuable exchange regarding the crucial role of space science and technology in supporting decision-making and improved early warning measures in the public and global health domains.
As a way of improving accessibility to space-derived information, UN-SPIDER is regularly undertaking technical advisory missions and conducting capacity-building. Thus, the work of UN-SPIDER is an outstanding example of how international cooperation can promote the use of Space technologies for disaster management and climate change adaptation. Germany continues to support UN-SPIDER, especially with regard to its regional presence in Bonn. Last year, the German government renewed its commitment through a new 5-year programme, in cooperation with the University of Bonn, that focuses in particular on droughts and floods.
We further note the Subcommittee’s work on Space Weather and welcome the progress report on the work of its Expert Group on Space Weather, which highlighted that improved international coordination is essential to address the global threat of space weather. We therefore reiterate our support for a dedicated international coordination group for space weather, which could deliver improved international collaboration and coordination for improved space weather services and ultimately enhance global resiliency against the adverse effects of space weather.
Finally let me add, that German experts actively support the work of the International Asteroid Warning Network and the Space Mission Planning and Advisory Group (SMPAG), which both provide a strong base for international cooperation to deal with the potential threat of Near-Earth Objects. A report of the SMPAG Working Group on Legal Issues has been presented in February 2019 which we regard as a valuable consultation document.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.