UAE Hope Probe Mars mission
UAE Hope Probe Maris mission. Image Credit: MBRSC/EMM

Vienna: The UAE, represented by Omran Sharaf, Director of the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), chaired the 65th session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

During the session, the committee’s members approved the draft report of the Working Group on Space and Global Health.

The report is a distinguished achievement considering the different opinions of the committee’s member states, and the UAE has performed a positive and moderating role in ensuring the convergence of opinions of the committee members.

Sharaf said the space sector recently witnessed the emergence of new technologies and a growing number of involved entities, requiring greater cooperation in drafting guidelines to maintain the long-term sustainability of space-related activities.

The committee aims to promote international cooperation in ensuring compliance with United Nations (UN) treaties regulating safety and sustainability in outer space, he further added.

In his inauguration speech, Sharaf welcomed Angola, Bangladesh, Panama, Slovenia and Kuwait as new members of the committee, which now has 100 member states.

He also welcomed the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKA) and the Lunar Open Corporation, which joined the committee as observers.

During the session, Salem Al Qubaisi, Director of the UAE Space Agency, delivered a speech on behalf of the Emirati delegation highlighting the UAE’s belief in the importance of equal international access to outer space and international cooperation in the development of space activities.

He also pointed out that the UAE aims to empower the private sector in this area and attract local and international investments in the sector, by implementing ambitious space projects and building the relevant capacities of national cadres. After the success of the country’s historic mission to Mars, the UAE government announced a new scientific mission aimed at discovering the asteroid belt.

According to the system in force at the UN, the UAE presidency of the COPUOS, affiliated with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), will continue for a period of two years in 2022 and 2023, during which Sharaf will assume the position of president.