71 UNGA: Cuba on Agenda item “International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space”.

Mr. Chairman,

At the beginning of our remarks, we would like to commend the work accomplished by Canada as head of COPOUS during the Committee meeting this year. We also congratulate India and Chile for presiding over theScientific and Technical and the Legal Subcommittees, respectively.

The COPOUS report presented to our Committee this year provides detailed account of the different but no less important issues analyzed in the three forums.

Our delegation is pleased to note that the Committee has decided to continue to review for the next 2017 session, as matter of priority, the means of maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes.

Cuba would like to reaffirm its position that militarization of the outer space would be one of the major threats to the future of human species. We therefore call upon the international community to prevent outer space from becoming the next target of the arms race.

Accordingly, we strongly support the policy of no-first placement of any kinds of weapons in outer space.

As a common heritage of humanity, outer space should not be an area for presence of weapons. No weapons of any kind should be placed in space.

Adopting new international legal standards prohibiting the deployment of weapons in outer space, especially nuclear weapons, is the only way to deter the threat to militarize outer space.

The current international legislation is insufficient and silent in many aspects, but particularly in preventing the threat posed by the militarization of outer space. We therefore call upon all states to negotiate and adopt a legal instrument regulating the peaceful use of outer space.

In addition, we believe there is an urgent need for the international community to define and delimit outer space. To achieve this goal, the Legal Subcommittee should intensify its works, taking into consideration the theoretical aspects, the existing legal loopholes, and not be limited to practical aspects, as some developed states have intended to do. Such position does not favor the development and promotion of the peaceful use of outer space, providing a platform for its potential militarization.

Constructive dialogue between COPUOS, specifically its Legal Subcommittee, and the Conference on Disarmament, would allow achieving an efficient legal instrument. The Conference on Disarmament, as the only multilateral forum to negotiate disarmament issues, should play a major role in creating an international instrument to prevent the militarization of outer space.

In this context, we welcome the presentation by the Russian Federation and the People´s Republic of China at the Conference on Disarmament of a revised version of the draft treaty “Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and of the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects”.

Mr. Chairman,

An aspect gaining great importance is the work of the Working Group for Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities. In this sense, our delegation commends the efforts made. This has allowed the achievement of a first set of guidelines for which negotiations were held and finalized. Similarly, an agreement was reached with the purpose to continue reviewing and assessing as a matter of priority the preamble and a second group of guidelines, which will make up a full compendium of guidelines to be approved by the Committee and further presented to the General Assembly in 2018.

Our delegation would like to reaffirm that the geostationary orbit is a limited natural resource, becoming ever more clearly in danger of saturation. The exceptional possibilities this orbit provides to develop social programs for the benefit of humanity should not be hampered by the rampant and elitist commercialization of some states or private agents. It should be used according to the provisions of international space treaties, focusing on the needs of the developing countries.

We are also concerned about the issue of space debris and the collision of space objects with such debris.

Furthermore, we cannot fail to mention our condemnation of the dense spy satellite network existing in the space. This network has been created by some nations with the aim of obtaining information to the detriment of other nations and not for the benefit of humanity, largely contributing to the generation of space debris.

Additionally, we have to ensure equitable access to all States, regardless of their degree of scientific or economic development, paying special attention to the needs and interests of the developing countries.

Mr. Chairman,

Despite the economic hardships mainly as a result of the cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed against our country, Cuba attaches a growing importance to space sciences and their applications. Particular emphasis is placed on the prevention of disasters such as cyclones, flooding, penetrations of the sea and forest fires, as well as to the studies of hazard, vulnerability and risk (PVR), among others. Accordingly, we would like to highlight the importance attached by our country to the Early Warning Systems for Disasters. In this area, we have acquired considerable experience, particularly in addressing hurricanes, which have become increasingly frequent and gained intensity. We have shared this experience with other countries of the region as well.

Mr. Chairman,

All States have the right to explore and use outer space for peaceful purposes. However, nowadays exercising such right is an illusion for most developing countries. Therefore, there is a pressing need for bilateral and multilateral cooperation, exchange of information, capacity building and transfer of technologies. In this regard, we emphasize the role of the United Nations and COPUOS in fostering cooperation, especially on important areas of climate change, of food security, the management of natural resources, particularly water, the management of environmental resources and the mitigation of their impact, among others.

Thank you very much.