Statement by Ms. Saima Sayed, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations in the General Debate of the Fourth Committee on “International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space” (October 11, 2017)

Mr. Chairman,

We would like begin by extending our appreciation for the work done by the UN COPUOS ably led by its chair. The report of its 60th Session, contained in the document A/72/20, gives a comprehensive review of the activities of the Committee.

Since its establishment, UN Committee on the Peaceful uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) has greatly benefitted the international space community through facilitating convergence of views on key scientific, technical, legal and regulatory issues related to outer space.

Pakistan, as a member of this Committee is committed to: (one) universal access on an equal and non-discriminatory basis; (two) non-appropriation of outer space by claim of sovereignty, use, appropriation, occupation or other means; and (three) exclusive use for peaceful purposes as a common heritage of humankind. We believe that it is our collective responsibility to keep the outer space safe, secure and sustainable for catering to the needs of the future generations.

Mr. Chairman,

Space technologies have evolved dramatically and outer space activities have transcended from being mere technology demonstration to pragmatic applications for national security and socioeconomic uplift of the masses. Today’s space industry is characterized by regional and international cooperation in areas like space sciences, technology and scientific training programs.

We understand that the nations are at various stages of scientific, technical and economic development. Through capacity building, we can bridge the ever-widening gap between nations, which is necessary not only for the long-term sustainability of the outer space activities but also for confidence building and transparency.

COPUOS has a vital role to play in assisting all developing nations in the areas of long-term sustainability of outer space activities, global health, human settlements, transportation, communication, space weather, environment, space debris mitigation, remote sensing, satellite navigation and meteorology as well as important legal questions of delimitation and definition of outer space and rational equitable use of geostationary orbit. This would require ensuring access to space-derived data and information and its processing, access to participation in space-related activities and possible benefits and access to interminable safe and secure space-related operations.

Mr. Chairman,

While our reliance and dependence on outer space applications is increasing every day, the potential and the risk of its weaponization is also on the rise. There is an urgent need to address this issue in order to prevent outer space from emerging as the new realm of conflict and arms race.

Pakistan consistently opposes militarization and weaponization of outer space and any consequent arms race in outer space. We believe that such installation of weapons in space poses a grave threat for the future of this world and the human race inhabiting this earth. Not only that, but such installations also pose a great threat to the future of space operations and will impede our progress towards achieving long term sustainability of outer space activities.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan appreciates the efforts of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) for preparing the consensus report of the study on Transparency and Confidence Building Measures (TCBMs) in Outer Space. Considering the importance of growing reliance on space resources and their vulnerability, Pakistan supports the recommendations of GGE for consideration by all States as non-legally binding voluntary measures. With the aim of confidence-building and transparency, Pakistan has been stepping up its participation in its space-related activities, which aim at the peaceful uses of outer space.

Mr. Chairman,

We believe that outer space activities should be carried out on the basis of international laws and UN principles and guidelines on outer-space activities, as formulated from time to time. The sustainability of outer space activities can be achieved through a legal and global governance regime. Long-term sustainability of outer space activities is an important objective which needs to be pursued among other means, through much needed confidence among States and transparency.

Thank you.