The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Space Agency digitally signed an agreement today to increase collaboration on the long-term sustainability of space activities and promote the use of space for sustainable development.
Space exploration is booming more than 80 countries have launched satellites since 1957 and over 2,500 are currently operational, according to UNOOSA estimates. Record political and economic capital is being invested in the space sector. This includes middle- and lower-income countries. With such increased interest comes heightened risk testing the normative and institutional structures underpinning a secure and sustainable space environment. Challenges include: the proliferation of space debris, the emergence of large constellations of satellites and the increasing complexity of space operations. These pressures point to a clear need to reinforce dialogue and the exchange of best practices among both – established and emerging space faring nations.
The benefits of space for sustainable development are increasingly evident. The growth of space applications presents an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate global sustainable development. It is therefore crucial that more countries have access to space and space data, something UNOOSA is working on with its Access to Space 4 All Initiative.
This agreement lays the corner stone to establishing a UNOOSA project office in the United Arab Emirates, acting as a new global hub to foster international progress on space sustainability and space for development issues. This collaboration will see the convening of the global space sector to support dialogue, research and trend-analysis, reinforcing efforts to catalogue best-practices on both responsible activities in space and leveraging the potential of space to accelerate sustainable development.
UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said: “Through this agreement, UNOOSA and the UAE take a big step towards establishing a new international hub for space sustainability. With space technology accelerating sustainable development around the world and global investment in the space sector increasing, now is the time to strengthen global dialogue on space sustainability issues. The UAE, with its steadfast commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and significant achievements in the space sector, is the perfect partner for this ambitious plan.”
UAE Space Agency Director General Mohammed Al Ahbabi said: “The UAE Space Agency is pleased to collaborate with UNOOSA in the effort to ensure sustainable development in outer space so that all of humanity can continue to benefit from its uses for peaceful purposes and socioeconomic benefit now and in the long term. We look forward to continued fruitful dialogue designed to accelerate the global space sector’s contribution to humanity’s aspirations.”
The announcement was made 10 June 2020 in Vienna.