Space Diplomacy: UNOOSA and United Kingdom Strengthen Cooperation on Space Sustainability

OrganizationsInternational Organizations ♦ Published: December 28, 2022; 23:39 ♦ (Vindobona)

As part of a new project to strengthen space sustainability, the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Government of the United Kingdom are strengthening their partnership. A broad range of activities will be undertaken to raise awareness and build capacity related to the implementation of the Guidelines for the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities.

Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities is essential for the future of space exploration. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Rrinsindika, CC BY-SA 3.0

A third phase of the project has been completed since it began in 2021. With UK funding, UNOOSA will develop an open-access e-learning tool to facilitate and improve understanding of the Guidelines. Additionally, UNOOSA will hold a series of virtual events to promote international cooperation and capacity building on safe and sustainable space operations.

In Niklas Hedman's view, Acting Director of UNOOSA, partnering with the UK Government has been instrumental in increasing awareness of the importance of sustainable space activities.

The exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes should be conducted in a manner that ensures equitable access to present and future generations. In the Guidelines, the Member States of the United Nations have agreed on the importance of continuing to conduct space activities safely and sustainably.

As Niklas Hedman put it, "the benefits of space technology are invaluable" for daily life and sustainable development. According to Hedman UNOOSA must jointly ensure that the steps taken "today bring prosperity to both current and future generations."

UK Minister for Science, Research and Innovation George Freeman announced proudly, that "Just as the expansion in shipping, rail and the motor car industry required international standards in previous centuries, often headquartered here in London, so too does Space." It is imperative to tackle the growing problem of debris and demonstrate our commitment to space sustainability in light of the exciting growth in the space and satellite sector, according to Freeman.

Freeman assured that the UK is "deeply committed to the clean space mission and leading global partnerships in setting sustainable Space standards."

As Dr. Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, put it, space keeps humanity safe, connected, and capable of tackling climate emergencies.

A key step in championing space sustainability is supporting the development and delivery of tools that raise awareness of the Long-Term Sustainability Guidelines. As part of this initiative, Bate announced that the UK is "proud to be working with UNOOSA to advance knowledge-sharing with other countries and help them develop capability in the space sector."