To space2030 and beyond: space as a driver for sustainable development

Europe's World

Picture of Simonetta Di Pippo
Simonetta Di Pippo

We have to pay more attention to the peaceful uses of outer space

Simonetta Di Pippo is Director of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

Space activities are a crucial part of our everyday lives: they influence and enable many of the things we do and take for granted, be it using a mobile phone or checking the weather forecast, or the things we need urgently and reliably, such as disaster relief.

Space is instrumental for every country as it offers decision-makers the necessary information to deal with a variety of issues. Space is also a long-term driver for innovation and creates new opportunities to address global challenges.

In order to build resilient and sustainable societies we have to pay more attention to the peaceful uses of outer space. We also need to make sure that space remains sustainable so that it can be used by all – now and in the future.

There are two essential steps we need to take so that humanity benefits from everything that space offers us: increasing access to space technologies and promoting international cooperation. Achieving these goals will enable the international community to make space a driver for equality and for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In order to build resilient and sustainable societies we have to pay more attention to the peaceful uses of outer space

Having open access to space-derived data is a good example of how countries can benefit from space activities. This kind of accessible and transparent data contributes to equal distribution of opportunities, broadens economic gain, fosters research and innovation, and supports decision-making processes. The global challenges the world faces today, from the impact of climate change to the fair distribution of food resources, can only be collectively addressed if there is open and fair access to data. In this sense, access to space-based data can contribute directly to sustainable development.

Many countries cannot afford a standalone space programme, and increasing access to space depends on building international partnerships. The international community can help the many non-space-faring nations to enjoy the benefits of space by working together.

It is important to remember that this kind of cooperation is extremely beneficial to all those involved, since the current global issues we need to address, such as climate change, are transnational and can only be solved if nations work together and with the United Nations. At the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) we work hard to strengthen the ability of countries – especially developing countries – to access and use space.

In response to these issues, UNOOSA has been given the task of organising UNISPACE+50, a special segment of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in June 2018 to mark fifty years since the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. UNISPACE+50 will serve as a platform for the international community to meet and consider the future of space. Our goal is to build, together with all stakeholders, a new concept of space governance in a new framework strategy called Space2030.

This kind of cooperation is extremely beneficial to all those involved: the current global issues can only be solved if nations work together

Space2030 will support the use of space as a tool for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. We want to make sure that space technology and applications are used to bring concrete benefits to all humankind, paying special attention to the future space-faring and developing countries while also carefully considering the long-term sustainability of outer space activities for current and future generations.

The Space2030 framework will be built upon four pillars:

1. Space accessibility: all communities using and benefiting from space technologies;
2. Space diplomacy: building and strengthening international cooperation in space activities;
3. Space economy: development of space-derived economic benefits;
4. Space society: evolution of society and societal benefits stemming from space-related activities.
We expect the Space2030 framework to foster cooperation in the broader space community, including private actors, non-governmental organisations and others, so that we can work together towards building better lives on Earth. We believe that through this new perspective space will become an indispensable asset that improves the well-being of all people. It will also play a valuable role in the attainment of the global development agenda.

In preparation for UNISPACE+50 and Space2030, UNOOSA is organising a series of High Level Forums for stakeholders to identify ways to harness space technology and applications for socio-economic development and contribute to Space2030. The most recent Forum was held in Dubai in November 2016 and resulted in the Dubai Declaration, which underscored the need for greater cooperation in outer space activities.

The next Forum will be in November 2017, and UNOOSA encourages all interested parties in the broader space community to engage in this process to help us build Space2030 and the future of international space cooperation.

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