I would like to congratulate you on assuming the chairmanship of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee, and I wish you and the bureau members all success. I would also like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Chair of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Mr. David Kendall, and to the Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Mrs. Simonetta Di Pippo, for their tireless efforts to enhance international cooperation in the field of outer space. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to Mr. Azzedine Oussedik of Algeria for his wise and effective leadership of the Committee in the past two years.
The outer space sector has been witnessing a continuous growth in its uses and applications which have become essential in improving the economic and social aspects of human life and achieving the sustainable development goals. In addition to its importance in the areas of communications, navigation and media broadcasting, the outer space has become an important element in monitoring climate change and desertification, disaster management, and in improving the management of natural resources. Therefore, it is important to continue space exploration, develop its applications, promote scientific research, and provide the necessary resources that would allow us to use the outer space in peaceful ways and bring benefit to the whole world.
In this context, we emphasize that all states must pursue their activities in the outer space with a spirit of responsibility and transparency, in order to enhance confidence and security measures. The provisions of international law on outer space should be also enhanced in order to curb arms race in the outer space.
In this context, my country has recently adopted a national policy document which aims to build a strong and sustainable space sector in the UAE that can contribute to the diversification of the UAE economy and its growth, and to the development of scientific capacities and advanced technology. The document also aims to identify the UAE approach and the priorities and ambitions of its government regarding the outer space sector, and to coordinate the national efforts to organize this sector and strengthen its role and sustainability. The document includes a set of principles and guidelines to the concerned authorities regarding the necessary activities that should be undertaken to support and develop the outer space sector, and it also emphasizes the importance of international cooperation in this field.
My country is also working on transforming its national policy on outer space into a reality through launching a number of important initiatives and projects in this area, most notably, the Emirates Mars Mission, which is the first Arab and Islamic project of its kind and aims to find answers on a number of important scientific questions that were never sought by any previous mission sent to explore Mars.
My country is also working through the UAE Space Agency on developing the uses of space science and technology in the UAE. Several important accomplishments have been achieved by the Agency in record time since its establishment, including the preparation of the UAE strategic plan for the advancement of the outer space sector, development of the human resources in this sector and raising the awareness of its importance. The UAE Space Agency has also forged a series of local and international partnerships with a view to strengthening national expertise and capacities in this area, and for developing the uses of space applications in many fields. The UAE’s investments in space technology have exceeded six billion dollars.
Since the UAE has become a member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space last year, it has been vigorously participating in the activities of this Committee and its subcommittees, especially in the discussions relating to the agreement on the guidelines of the sustainability of outer space activities in the long term. Furthermore, my country participated in several international conferences and seminars, including the International Astronautical Congress held last month. The UAE has also hosted the symposium of the International Civil Aviation and United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs on Aviation and Space in Abu Dhabi, which was considered an exceptional event as it gathered members of the civil aviation and outer space communities from all over the world for the first time outside the headquarters of the organizations of the United Nations. My country will also host a high-level international forum entitled “Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development,” which is scheduled to be held from 20 -24 November 2016 to discuss the role of space science and technology in the fostering the global growth.
The UAE has also adopted a large number of international treaties and conventions that would strengthen international cooperation in the field of space, such as the Treaty on the Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, as well as other international and regional conventions such as the Convention of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), (EMSO), and (Arabsat).
In conclusion, the UAE is looking forward to strengthen international partnerships in the field of outer space, and the exchange of best practices and experiences in order to develop innovative tools in the service of humanity.