The UAE Space Agency becomes a member of COPUOS

by Clayton Vallabhan | November 4th, 2015

Al-Ahbabi-2The UAE Space Agency celebrated the third UAE Flag Day following the invitation extended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to celebrate the commemoration of the day His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan assumed his position as President of the UAE by raising the UAE flag on in every home, institution and street.

The efforts of the United Arab Emirates to join the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) have been met with success , after a majority of member states voted in favour of the membership decision on Thursday, 29 October 2015 during the 4th Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Dr. Khalifa Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, praised this achievement, underlining the importance of this accession as a major step in enhancing the UAE’s role and contribution at the international level. The UAE has been involved with issuing international resolutions and regulations, and in the designing of global programs and plans for peaceful use of space.

Dr. Al Rumaithi stressed that the UAE’s quest to achieve global representation in the space sector comes as a natural step forward following the state’s efforts initiated about three decades ago in this field. This was undertaken in accordance with the directives and tireless efforts of the wise leadership of the UAE, which materialized in a series of global projects specializing in satellite communications systems, data transfer services, TV broadcasting via space, and mobile space communications.

Dr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, expressed his pleasure over the UAE’s new membership in COPUOS, saying that it is evidence of the world’s recognition of the importance of the UAE space program and the status it has achieved in this important sector, in record time.

Dr. Al Ahbabi said that the UAE is keen to strengthen international cooperation and participation in global Space related events, as this serves the state, world communities, the member states and benefits humanity. He added that in order to achieve the ultimate goal of utilizing space science for peaceful uses, it is necessary to work closely with developed countries that have vast experience in this sector. This can be achieved through international cooperation and will lead to the advancement of the economies of countries.

Dr. Al Ahbabi said that the membership is in agreement with the Agency’s objectives to join international agreements and partnerships that support and regulate the use and exploration of space science; and supports global efforts to meet the challenges faced by the space sector. He noted that the Agency will benefit from the membership through the consolidation of international cooperation in the field of Space. This will lead to enhancing the organization of the space sector on the local and global levels to achieve stability and sustainable development, while improving participation in programs aimed at the development of human resources specializing in space science. It will lead to learning about the latest regional and global projects, initiatives, and research programs in this growing field, as well as the latest and main technical and organizational challenges and issues facing the sector.

Dr. Al Ahbabi said that the UAE has signed and adopted nine important international treaties and agreements related to the exploration and peaceful use of space. He added that the UAE has become a forum for many international events and conferences at various levels on this vital and growing sector.

The UAE Space Agency (UAESA) participated in 2015 in the meetings of the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, which was preceded by its participation in COPUOS, an arm of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). The UAESA participated in both the technical and legal subcommittees, in order to enhance the State’s participation in this important committee and apply for membership in COPUOS and mobilize support in this regard, through effective and fruitful cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its United Nations missions in New York and Vienna. This lead to a majority vote in favor of the membership of the United Arab Emirates in the committee.

The number of existing member states in COPUOS and its subcommittees is 77, including 10 Arab countries, according to official data released by the commission in 2014.

COPUOS was founded in 1958, under which two sub-committees were formed, namely the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee, in order to maintain close contact between governmental and non-governmental organizations concerned with outer space affairs. COPUOS also contributes to the exchange of information on outer space activities and strengthening international cooperation among them.

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