UAE chosen to chair UN's commitee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
The UAE has been chosen as the chair of an important UN committee that is working towards promoting peaceful uses of outer space.The country will lead the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, with Omran Sharaf, the Emirati engineer who led the country's Mars mission to success, serving as chair from 2022 to 2023.
Operating since 1959, it is one the largest UN committees, with 100 member states, and plays an important role in peaceful uses of space, encouraging international co-operation and recommending laws and policies that support space exploration.
President Sheikh Mohamed said he was proud of Mr Sharaf and congratulated him on being elected.
"The UAE continues to make notable contributions to the space sector and we wish Omran every success in his new role," he said.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, also said he was proud of the UAE winning the post and described it as an honour to have Mr Sharaf appointed.
"I am proud of the UAE's victory as chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space," he said."I am proud of the son of the Emirates, Omran, who has honourably held this high international role.
"The youth of the Emirates have brought us to space, are leading global files and are running international institutions."
News of the UAE's election comes at a time when some countries are increasingly seeking to use space for military advantage.
It’s a great honour for the Emirates to take the chair of COPUOS
Sarah Al Amiri, chairwoman of the UAE Space AgencyThe use of weaponry and military technology in space has caused concern among experts over the years, as countries such as Russia, India and China perform anti-satellite missile tests, while some nations are launching an increasing number of spy satellites.
Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, said that being voted as chair was an honour for the country.
“It’s a great honour for the Emirates to take the chair of COPUOS (Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space), particularly as we founded our space programme on international partnerships and collaboration and continue to place these partnerships at the core of our space sector development,” she said.
Mr Sharaf previously represented the UAE at COPUOS and the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems.
He said this was a “tremendous chance” to serve the global space sector.
“As both a young nation and a relatively new entrant to the space sector, we have benefitted from the amazing work of the pioneers who have gone before us,” said Mr Sharaf.
“Alongside that heritage, we have also found scope to innovate and challenge what have become accepted norms and we look forward to bringing a spirit of open dialogue and co-operation but also seeking to define solutions and new ways of looking at some of the emerging challenges and opportunities facing our sector and, indeed humanity.
”The UN space body is behind one of the most notable space treaties ― the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which has been signed by more than 105 countries so far, including the UAE.
The treaty outlines peaceful uses of space, including low-Earth orbit, the Moon and other space bodies.However, experts have been voicing concerns for the past few years on how some countries were increasingly using space for "wrong reasons".
During the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi last week, Maj Michel Friedling, head of the French Space Command, gave a warning that space was no longer peaceful and immune from politics and war.
“The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 has allowed for the case of peaceful coexistence. And bridges were made between East and West during these decades," said Mr Friedling.
“But space is and will remain a key factor of economic strategy and military advantage for those who master space and those who know how to use space services.
“So, tensions on Earth will reflect in space and it's already the case.
”The militarisation includes using weapons in space, carrying out cyber attacks on satellites, using technology that jams communications and possessing a large fleet of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance satellites.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, a number of cyber attacks have been carried out on satellites operating over the besieged country, often disconnecting its internet and communication services, thus cutting off the Ukrainian people from the wider world.
Elon Musk had made his Starlink satellites available to Ukraine but issued a warning that they could become targets.
Anti-satellite missile, or ASAT, tests use military technology to destroy spacecraft. They are a concern because they create high levels of debris that could endanger astronauts and satellites.
They are also considered a threat because such missile technology could be used in an armed conflict.
In November, Russia carried out an ASAT test in which it destroyed one of its satellites, creating thousands of pieces of space debris.
India ordered an ASAT test in 2019 in an operation called the Mission Shakti, resulting in high levels of space debris.
China destroyed one of its satellites in 2007 and the US followed a year later with a similar operation.
But the US government recently committed to ending further ASAT tests and has called for a global agreement to urge other nations to follow its lead.
Source : MSN.Com