UNGA Adds New COPUOS Members and Declares International Moon Day

Image of Buzz Aldrin’s bootprint from the Apollo 11 mission. Source: NASA

The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) announced that five new countries joined the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) with the approval of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The countries include Angola, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Panama and Slovenia. These new additions took the number of UNCOPUOS member states to 100.

The General Assembly set up the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity – for peace, security and development. The Committee was tasked with reviewing international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, studying space-related activities that could be undertaken by the United Nations, encouraging space research programmes, and studying legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space. In addition, COPUOS initially had 18 members and conducted reviews of international cooperation in space-related activities.

The Committee was instrumental in creating the five treaties and five principles of outer space. Furthermore, they report to the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly. In addition, international cooperation in space exploration and the use of space technology applications to meet global development goals are discussed in the Committee every year. Also, the space agenda is constantly evolving due to rapid advances in space technology. The Committee, therefore, provides a unique platform at the global level to monitor and discuss these developments.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has also declared 20th July as the International Moon Day, commemorating the first manned lunar landing of 1969. In addition, the International Moon Day will raise awareness about sustainable Moon exploration and utilisation while celebrating the achievements of all the member States.

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