Statement on Space Technology for socio-economic development at the 56th session of the Scientific-Technical Sub-Committee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS)


56th Session, Vienna, 11 February - 22 February 2019 - Germany                 

Item 5: Space technology for socioeconomic development

Madam Chair,

Distinguished Delegates,

Germany is convinced, that space technologies and applications can have a considerable positive impact on human development and welfare in the decades to come.

Space technology may contribute significantly to the implementation of the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

During UNISPACE+50 it became very clear, that it is now the right time to coordinate and strengthen our joint efforts to realize this potential. There is a need for enhanced capacity-building and for regional and interregional cooperation and coordination to bring all stakeholders together.

This usually has to start from the bottom up. The German government has adopted a national Copernicus strategy in 2017 that targets the realization of the full benefit of this large European Earth Observation programme in Germany. Over 100 specific activities are being implemented by different government agencies to evaluate or develop satellite-based services for the benefit of, ultimately, the citizen.

For the use of space-based data and applications for socioeconomic developmental objectives, especially developing countries can benefit from ac-cess to open data and software to process such data. The adoption of open data policies is a step in the right direction and is enhancing the use of space-based data across the globe.

Such free and open data is for instance provided by the European Copernicus programme/Sentinel satellites or the TanDEM-X Elevation Model, a 90m resolution elevation model of the entire Earth’s surface. They represent opportunities for business development in the domain of Earth observation-based services in all parts of the world.

In respect of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai framework, and the Paris agreement, this data can support a better understanding of the processes that change the Earth and help the derivation of national reports on SDG indicators.

It is now crucial to make the best use of the available data. Therefore, Germany supports targeted projects such as EVIDENZ. This project, funded by DLR, develops solutions for observing drought risks based on both space-based and socio-economic data. Results of the project will support the future work and cooperation of the UN University (UNU) with UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and UN-SPIDER.

Another example is the use of space data for a better understanding of climate change. Therefore, the German Aerospace Center DLR, together with UNOOSA, will host the third edition of its conference on climate change in the spring of 2020.

Within UNCOPUOS, Working groups, expert groups and affiliated boards and networks focus on priorities like Global Health, Space Weather and Near Earth Objects. As a way of improving accessibility to space-derived information, UN-SPIDER, is regularly undertaking technical advisory missions in order for all countries to have equal access to space-based tools for disaster risk reduction. We consider all these areas to be important for further development under the Space2030-umbrella and to contributing to the objectives of United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Madam Chair, distinguished Delegates,

in November of last year, Germany and UNOOSA jointly hosted a High Level Forum on the way forward after UNISPACE+50 and on Space2030 at the UN Campus in Bonn, Germany. The event brought together a wide range of stakeholders from 58 countries. This broad and diverse range of participants allowed us to discuss, in an inclusive manner, how space technologies and applications can further contribute to the achievement of the three global UN agendas, as well as how the future global governance of space activities can be shaped. The report of the event, which contains a number of observations and recommendations, has now been released and we look forward to the Working Group on the „Space2030“ agenda taking it into account during their deliberations.

Madam Chair, distinguished Delegates,

We thank you for your kind attention.

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