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UN body discusses use of space technology for social, economic progress

UN body discusses use of space technology for social, economic progress

Practical ways that space technology can be used to promote social and economic development will be the main focus of the annual meeting of the United Nations body dealing with the peaceful uses of outer space, which convened today in Vienna.

Delegates to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) are slated to examine a variety of uses for space technology for civilian purposes, including remote sensing for protecting the environment, facilitating and utilizing communications, and enhancing education and training opportunities for youth.

The Committee is also scheduled to discuss information technology needs, the spin-offs and commercial benefits from space activities, and the promotion of international cooperation. Meanwhile, another key focus for COPUOS will be "Space and Society," as delegates look at the many ways in which space has affected human culture.

During its eight-day deliberations, the Committee is slated to set up a working group to prepare for a five-year UN General Assembly review of the 1999 UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), which will consider further actions and initiatives based on this appraisal.

In addition, the Committee's Scientific and Technical Subcommittee has recommended that a statement from COPUOS be delivered at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September in order to increase awareness of the usefulness of space technology for promoting sustainable development.