Working Groups of the Committee and its Subcommittees

The following Working Groups are presently conducting work in the Committee and its Subcommittees:

Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

Working Group on the "Space2030" agenda    

In view of the draft resolution entitled "Fiftieth anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space: space as a driver of sustainable development", contained in A/AC.105/L.313, endorsed by the Committee at the 61st session, the Committee decided to include on its agenda a new item entitled "'Space2030' agenda", to remain on the Committee's agenda until the sixty-third session of the Committee, in 2020. The Committee agreed on the establishment of a Working Group under that item.

Intersessional consultations of the Working Group, 8-12 October 2018:

The newly established Working Group held intersessional consultations from  8 to 12 October 2018 at the Vienna International Centre to establish its workplan and method of work:

Latest: Information for States members of the Committee on a draft structure for the "Space2030" agenda

Documents for consideration:

  UNISPACE+50 Thematic priority reports

Further decisions related to the work of the newly established Working Group are available in the Report of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space at its sixty-first session, 20-29 June 2018, paras. 358-363.

 

Scientific and Technical Subcommittee

Working Group on Space and Global Health

The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, at its sixty-first session held from 20 to 29 June 2018, agreed that, under the agenda item of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on space and global health, a working group, with Antoine Geissbühler (Switzerland) as Chair, should be convened at the fifty-sixth session of the Subcommittee in 2019. The Committee further agreed that the Chair of the newly established working group, together with the Secretariat, would present to the fifty-sixth session of the Subcommittee, a proposal for a multi-year workplan for that working group, taking into account the role of the Expert Group on Space and Global Health.

Working Group of the Whole

The Scientific and Technical Subcommittee's Working Group of the Whole was established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 41/64 of 3 December 1986. Originally tasked with evaluating the implementation of recommendations made by the Second United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the Working Group presently considers a number of issues, such as the use of space technology for socio-economic development in the context of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development and the post-2015 development agenda, global health and organizational matters In 2015, the Working Group established an Expert Group on Space and Global Health, which reviews and analyses current uses of space technology, applications, practices and initiatives in support of global health needs ( A/AC.105/C.1/2015/CRP.29, para. 4).

Working Group on the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space

The Working Group on the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space has a long record of productive work under matters under its consideration. In 2009, the Working Group developed, jointly with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Safety Framework for Nuclear Power Source Applications in Outer Space. Currently, the Working Group is working under objectives of its multi-year workplan for 2010-2017, which are:

  • To promote and facilitate the implementation of the Safety Framework for Nuclear Power Source Applications in Outer Space by providing information pertinent to challenges faced by member States and international intergovernmental organizations, in particular those considering or initiating involvement in applications of nuclear power sources (NPS) in outer space;
  • To identify any technical topics for, and establish the objectives, scope and attributes of, any potential additional work by the Working Group to further enhance safety in the development and use of space NPS applications. Any such additional work would require the approval of the Subcommittee and would be developed with due consideration for relevant principles and treaties.

For documents of the Working Group, please click here.

Working Group on the Long term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities (mandate concluded)

The Working Group on the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities was established in 2010 under the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee ( A/AC.105/958, para. 181) to identify areas of concern for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, propose measures that could enhance sustainability, and produce voluntary guidelines to reduce risks to the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. The Working Group and its expert groups addressed thematic areas including sustainable space utilization supporting sustainable development on Earth; space debris, space operations and tools to support collaborative space situational awareness; space weather; and regulatory regimes and guidance for actors in the space arena.

At the fifty-ninth session of the Committee, in June 2016, a first set of guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities was agreed upon ( A/71/20, Annex). In 2018, consensus was reached on a preamble and nine additional guidelines ( A/AC.105/1167, Annex III). The Working Group, which concluded its mandate at the sixty-first session of the Committee, was not, however, able to reach consensus on its final report or on how to refer the preamble and guidelines to the General Assembly ( A/73/20, paras 207-208).

A dedicated webpage is available for members of this Working Group.

 

Legal Subcommittee

Working Group on the Status and Application of the Five United Nations Treaties on Outer Space

This Working Group was established under the Legal Subcommittee to review the status of the treaties, their implementation and obstacles to their universal acceptance, as well as to promote space law, especially through the UN Programme on Space Application ( A/AC.105.763, para. 118). The Working Group has addressed the application and implementation of the concept of the "launching State," and continues to review and synthesize responses to a set of questions on issues relating to the Moon Agreement, including its benefits, as well as its principles and provisions in need of clarity; on issues relating to the implementation of the mechanisms of responsibility and liability of States parties to the UN treaties on outer space activities, including the notions of "fault" and "damage" under these instruments; and on issues related to the registration of space objects, including their ownership, jurisdiction and control ( A/AC.105/C.2/2012/CRP.10).

At the fifty-ninth session of the Committee, in 2016, the Working Group was identified as the mechanism under thematic priority 2, "Legal regime of outer space and global governance: current and future perspectives", ( A/71/20, para. 296), which was endorsed by the Committee in preparation for UNISPACE+50.

Working Group on the Definition and Delimitation of Outer Space

This Working Group considers various matters relating to the definition and delimitation of outer space. It considers, among other things, information on national legislation and practice relating to the definition and delimitation of outer space, and reviews responses of States and international organizations to questionnaires on issues relating to the definition and delimitation of outer space, as well as on issues relating to suborbital flights for scientific missions and/or for human spaceflight. For documents of the Working Group, please click here.

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