61st Session of the COPUOS Legal Subcommittee – Agenda Item 10: Future Role and Method of Work of the Committee
As prepared for delivery by U.S. Head of Delegation Emily Pierce
April 1, 2022
Chair, under this agenda item, the United States wishes to respond to a few delegations that expressed the view that this Subcommittee and COPUOS should be taking up security-related outer space issues on their agendas. The principles contained in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and our other applicable international obligations continue to guide the full range of U.S. space activities. For decades, COPUOS’s consensus mandate has focused on international cooperation to advance the peaceful use of outer space, including ways and means to maintain the use of outer space for peaceful purposes. The United States believes that UNCOPUOS is not the appropriate forum to discuss questions specifically related to the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), or the use of outer space for military and other national security activities.
Issues associated with both PAROS and the use of outer space for national security activities and related matters are more appropriately discussed in groups the mandates of which specifically focus on those issues, such as the Conference on Disarmament, the UN Disarmament Commission, and the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security. This also includes the two-year Open-Ended Working Group on “Reducing space threats through norms, rules, and principles of responsible behaviours,” that is scheduled to hold its first meeting in Geneva on May 9 to 13 pursuant to UN General Assembly resolution 76/231, and in which the United States looks forward to participating constructively.
Thank you, Chair.