SA participates in UN space conference

Monday, June 18, 2018

Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe is this week leading a delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE+50), which gets underway today.

The Deputy Minister is leading a delegation to the UNISPACE+50 Symposium in Vienna, Austria. The symposium will run until Thursday, while the 61st session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) will get underway on Friday.

UNCOPUOS will run until 29 June.

Magwanishe, who will deliver a country statement at UNISPACE+50, says South Africa is a respected member of UNCOPUOS and its sub-committees, and will continue to play a leadership role within the United Nations Multilateral System. This will be through ongoing active participation, and enhancing international cooperation with key partners for the development of the industry.

“We are committed to actively engage UNCOPUOS on possible reforms of the structures of global space governance in order to take into account the increasing number of new space actors, and the increasing importance of commercial space actors in the international space environment. [This is] all within the context of ensuring the long term sustainability of outer space activities,” Magwanishe said.

There will also be industry engagements through the sideline exhibition that is organised for various industry players, where South Africa will showcase her capabilities within the space industry.

The conference will see the international community gather to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Magwanishe said the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), as the custodian of the primary legislative regime, has the responsibility of ensuring that South Africa makes a meaningful contribution to the work of the UNCOPUOS committee and to further ensure that the interests of the nation are considered.

He said attending and making contributions during the meeting would be beneficial to the country’s space industry.

The goal of UNISPACE+50 is to take stock of its past route and endorse a resolution that will be submitted to the General Assembly later in the year.

The goal is also to further build, together with all stakeholders, a comprehensive Space 2030 Agenda for the contribution of space activities to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. –