International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

Peaceful Uses of Outer Space


    Statement by

    Mr. Benjamin M Sharoni

    Israel’s Delegate to the Fourth Committee 


    Agenda Item 50

    International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space


    Thank You Mr./Madam Chair,

    Mr. Chairman, allow me to congratulate you on your election to preside over the Fourth Committee. May I take this opportunity to assure you of Israel's full support and cooperation.

    Madam/Mr. Chair, Distinguished delegates,

    The past few decades have seen significant developments in space research and exploration. As such, the number of countries relying on space programs and space applications for their economic welfare, development and national security is steadily growing.

    However, progress in this field is difficult to achieve alone. Many countries find it difficult to sustain their space endeavors due to the resource-intensive nature of these programs. The best way to overcome these challenges is to engage with the international community by entering into joint ventures. By doing so, we have the ability to drive significant technological breakthroughs.

    Israel’s national civil space program was adopted with a focus on the study of space utilization for securing life on Earth.

    The Israeli Space Agency, known as ISA, pursues a mission of peaceful outer space cooperation by promoting innovative scientific projects based on international collaboration. The space industry harnesses the best of human creativity and vision. It provides important infrastructure to spur industrial development.

    Israel believes that by collaborating with other countries, we create opportunities to learn new methodologies. Such cooperation enables us to better understand cultural nuances and increases understanding and tolerance.

    To this end, the Israeli Space Agency has signed cooperation agreements with sister agencies from various countries. The Space Agency continues to expand links with international partners and has sought to advance a number of projects that would benefit the international community at large.

    Mr. Chairman,

    Allow me to mention just a few of Israel’s recent space related activities.

    In December 2012 the Government of Israel allotted the first of five budgetary allocations in order to implement its 2010 decision to promote Israel's National Civil Space Program.

    This year, Israel has created new ties with space cooperation partners, both national space agencies, as well as, international organizations.

    The 8th Annual International Ilan Ramon Space Conference took place in January 2013 in Israel. Over the course of three days, 14 delegations from national space agencies came to Israel to discuss future space exploration, spaceflight safety, international cooperation, non-traditional applications of space, space industry, space and science and more. The conference was a huge success. It was a celebration of Israel's space capabilities and a recognition of the need for the international community to cooperate in this field.

    Let me take this opportunity to extend an open invitation to all countries, to participate in the next Ilan Ramon Space Conference that will take place in January 2014 at Tel Aviv.

    In March 2013, more than 30 European space-related entities visited Israel to meet with similar companies and more than 300 productive meetings took place.  

    Every year, the International Astronautical Federation together with the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute of Space Law, host the International Astronautical Congress. At last year’s 63rd Congress in Naples, Jerusalem was selected to host the 2015 Congress. My country is working tirelessly to ensure the success of this important gathering.

    The past two decades have witnessed a dramatic intensification of space-related activities. Eleven countries, including Israel, have space launch capability and over sixty countries own and operate approximately 1,100 active satellites. Space based assets offer a wide spectrum of critical civilian, commercial, and military related services, many of them essential. Israel established an inter-ministerial committee to cooperate with the European Union in the drafting of the Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.  This calls on countries to establish policies and procedures to minimize accidents or other acts that could interfere with other states' right to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space.

    Israel recently donated a model of its OPSAT 2000 series satellite to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space which can be viewed at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. The OPSAT 2000 is a High Resolution observation Satellite Series made by Israel Aerospace Industries. Weighing only 300 kilograms, it is capable of identifying small objects from an altitude of several hundred kilometers. The satellite is for civil uses in agriculture, infrastructure analysis, transportation and natural disaster management.

    Mr. Chairman,

    Israel's public and private sectors are striving for innovation and technological excellence in space research. One of the five main objectives of Israel's National Civil Space Program is to position the State of Israel amongst the five leading space faring nations. Israel's strategic vision is to reach this objective through international cooperation. We will invest almost 50% of the program's budget in international partnerships.

    Israel is already working closely with its partners in the United States and Europe in the fields of earth monitoring, environmental monitoring, soil mapping and other areas including Supernova Detection and Tracking, Light Weight Satellites, Satellite Formation Flying, Micro Electrical Propulsion Systems, Nano and Micro Satellites

    In this spirit, Israel invites other countries to cooperate with us. Together we can realize the full potential of the peaceful use of outer space.

    In the words of Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon:

    “From outer space our whole world looks like one unit without borders. That is why I call from up here – let us work for peace and for a better humankind.”

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman