Mr. Chairman/ Mr. President,
It is my particular pleasure to speak on behalf of the European Union at this very special Plenary meeting of the General Assembly in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the First Human Space Flight.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and Montenegro*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
The First Human Space Flight on 12 April 1961 was not only an impressive technical achievement but a major milestone in human history.
The pilot of the satellite-spaceship Vostok 1, a citizen of the USSR, Flight Major Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space – and an international hero. With him bravery, modesty, confidence, professionalism, leadership and team spirit became forever associated with astronauts. Gagarin’s legacy will carry on well beyond our days. It is in his honour that we adopt today a resolution on the International Day of Human Space Flight.
Space makes an important contribution to the economies of the world and affects our daily lives in many ways for the common good of all mankind. It plays a vital role in monitoring our planet and protecting the environment. Moreover, space exploration has brought technical advances to materials science, computing, engineering, communications, biomedicine and many other fields
Due to satellites, we are now able to see our home planet in detail. Space probes have made landings on distant planets, moons and asteroids, now journeying even to the very edge of our Solar System. Orbiting astronomical telescopes have given scientists magnificent insights into the creation of life and of the whole Universe.
Mr. Chairman/ Mr. President,
Europe, in partnership with Russia, the United States, Japan and Canada is sharing in the international project of the International Space Station (ISS). Working through the European Space Agency, Europe is exclusively responsible for the European Columbus laboratory and the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), the two key Station elements.
Europe’s scientists and engineers are also contributing other elements, equipment and design skills across the ISS.
Mr. Chairman/ Mr. President
The European Union is fully committed to strengthening the security of activities in outer space in the context of expanding space activities that contribute to the development and security of states.
The growing number of actors and rapid development of activities in outer space reinforce the longstanding position of the EU and its Member States in favour of the enhancement of the multilateral framework concerning the preservation of a peaceful, safe and secure environment in outer space.
To this end, the European Union promotes the elaboration of an international and voluntary Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, a tool that would strengthen safety, security and predictability of all space activities. Such Code should, among other things, limit or minimise harmful interference, collisions or accidents in outer space, as well as the creation of debris.
The prevention of an arms race in outer space and the need to prevent outer space from becoming an area of conflict are essential conditions for the strengthening of strategic stability. The EU continues promoting international cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman / Mr. President.
* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.