International Cooperation for the Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes (UN, 1995)
We have no doubt that the Committee on outer space, if given the appropriate authority, fulfills a need of the international community. It has a reliable system of values, extensive experience in dialogue, and an impressive record of cooperation which clearly must be fully utilized in the peaceful exploration of outer space.
It would be useful in many respects to continue work on the draft of principles for international cooperation in the field of outer space, in particular since the consolidated working paper forms a good basis for finalizing agreed decisions. In that case, we feel, a worst case scenario regarding this agenda item, the notion that dialogue is doomed to failure, would give way to a positive attitude regarding creative interaction.
Next year’s work on the question of the delimitation of air and outer space also clearly requires greater attention. Here there is real potential for seeking compromises regarding the methodology for further consideration of this subject.
The questionnaire which has been agreed upon regarding objects in outer space covers important concepts, and encourages a revitalized logical and conceptual approach to the problem of delimitation. It is possible that at some stage it may still be possible to reach an understanding among both the supporters and opponents of consideration of issues of delimitation of space, and to move to a more sophisticated level of dialogue. This requires first and foremost a joint decision as to precisely which elements of the present paradigm will remain and which require adjustments.
New structural elements are also needed in work on the subject of the geostationary orbit. Here there is a real need to revitalize dialogue on various aspects of the fair and effective use of the GSO. It is also important to fully recognize that positive intentions and the desire to see justice done are possible only given a careful treatment of existing realities and circumstances.
Now we turn to our view of the subject of “space debris” as a possible agenda item of the Legal Subcommittee. This year that problem was a key element in many statements by representatives of states. The dominant theme was, as we see it, a constructive desire to discuss the ways and means for a transition to the setting of standards in this complex and sensitive field.
In analyzing the prospects for international-legal regulation of technologically generated littering of outer space, we naturally are not proposing to ignore the complexity of the issues under consideration or to sidestep the stage of a detailed study of the technical aspects of the problem, which in fact has made it possible to consolidate in a single system all of the factors linked to “space debris.” Ignoring this aspect can only result in one thing for all of us — we risk finding ourselves in a situation in which a random creative approach prevails over rational planning, in which improvisation and considerations of expediency become more important than our collectively planned constructive project.
We believe that truth will become our shared legacy only if we all act together, conscientiously demonstrating sensitivity towards each other’s points of view, thoughtfully and calmly analyzing both the prospects for long term decisions in this field and the opportunities for medium term compromise solutions.
On the whole, the discussion of the question of convening a new global conference on outer space is taking place in a constructive atmosphere.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.