Nigeria Joins 10 Other Countries to Propose UNCOPUOS Working Group

COPUOS panel discussing "The Legacy of the Apollo 11 Mission: The Future of Space Exploration" June 12, 2019 - Source - U.S. Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna

Nigeria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States have submitted a proposal to the UN’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). The proposal is for terms of reference, methods of work and a work plan for establishing a new working group on the long-term sustainability (LTS) of outer space activities of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC). 

In the joint proposal, the countries welcomed COPUOS’ adoption of the 21 guidelines for the long-term sustainability (LTS) of outer space activities. According to the proposal, sharing and reviewing best practices on the practical implementation of LTS guidelines by space-faring nations will enhance communication, international cooperation, and capacity building.

In addition, according to the terms of reference, the objectives of a new working group on long-term sustainability on outer space activities (LTS 2.0 Working Group) should be to: 

  • Identify, compile, and review relevant practices and procedures to support the practical implementation of the 21 adopted LTS guidelines.
  • Study challenges associated with emerging uses of space, to use this as the basis for identifying and compiling possible new guidelines; and,
  • Strengthen capacity-building efforts; by assisting nations in implementing the specific guidelines. Furthermore, it includes aiding the associated development of national space practices, policies, and legislation.

Additionally, the proposal opines that the LTS 2.0 Working Group will work in two non-parallel streams. These are the  

  • policy and regulatory stream; and 
  • operational and technical stream

The policy stream will be responsible for leading the compilation of best practices. These practices pertain to implementing the guidelines in policy and national regulatory frameworks for space activities. Furthermore, the stream is responsible for studying the challenges and potential new guidelines for consideration. 

On the other hand, the operational stream will be responsible for leading the compilation of best practices. Contrastingly, these practices pertain to implementing the guidelines regarding the safety and sustainability of space operations. This includes relevant aspects of scientific and technical research and development. Likewise, the stream is also responsible for studying the challenges and potential new guidelines for consideration. 

Furthermore, the proposal states that the Working Group will facilitate equitable participation from COPUOS delegations. To achieve this, the group will ensure sequential work within each session, with a balanced approach to dividing time. The Working Group will also remain open to all States’ Members of the Committee. Furthermore, the group will invite them to nominate and provide a point of contact to coordinate national contributions. Consequently, these designated national contact points will incorporate input from their respective national governmental and private sector entities.

By the proposed work plans, the Group will present a final working group report to the sixty-second STSC session in 2025. The report will consequently include the following recommendations:

  • compiling national implementation best practices of the 21 adopted LTS guidelines by States’ members and international organisations with permanent Observer status;
  • measures to address challenges identified and related study of possible new guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities;
  • experiences and opportunities in capacity building; and,
  • proposed future work recommendations

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