Space community underlines need for stronger cooperation as UN conference in Dubai closes

24 November 2016

Members of the global space community have affirmed the need for stronger international cooperation and dialogue as they wrapped up the work of a high-level United Nations forum in Dubai.

More than 100 participants attended the first High Level Forum on Space as a Driver for Socio-economic Sustainable Development, organized by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) together with the Government of the United Arab Emirates.

The Forum centred on aspects of space exploration in the areas of economy, society, accessibility and diplomacy, leading to the adoption of an outcome document known as the Dubai Declaration.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said delegations had produced recommendations to address key developments that have an impact on outer space activities such as new technologies and new business models.

“This Declaration and what we have learned at this Forum have provided us with an understanding of how we should move forward in utilizing space for development, on the need to get open access to space for an increasing number of countries, and in assisting States to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she said.


UN Office for Outer Space Affairs Director Simonetta Di Pippo reflects on the High Level Forum on Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development, saying that the event was held at the right moment for the international community. She also highlights that space activities improve day to day life.

The Dubai Declaration emphasized that strengthening socio-economic development will require an integrated approach among the space industry and other sectors such as environment and climate change, health, water and information and communication technology (ICT).

The document also underlined the need to increase the number of women in the space industry and to strengthen young people's involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

The High Level Forum brought together heads of space agencies, astronauts, academics, government officials, and representatives from the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

It is the first of three such events leading up to the 50th anniversary of the first UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

The conference, known as UNISPACE I, was held in August 1968, and raised global awareness about the potential benefits of outer space for humanity. UNISPACE+50 will be commemorated in June 2018.


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