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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Mr. Elmer G. Cato
at the Special Political and Decolonization Committee of the 62nd Session of the
United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 31: "International Cooperation
in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space"
New York, 25 October 2007
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
The Philippines would like to begin by associating itself with the statement delivered earlier by Thailand on behalf of the member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of the United Nations Committee for the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) for introducing the committee’s report to the General Assembly. The Philippines also fully supports the recommendations made in that report.
This year is an important milestone for COPUOS, which held its 50 th Session in Vienna a few months ago. COPUOS has indeed gone a long way since its inception as an ad hoc committee following the launching of the first artificial satellite into orbit almost half a century ago.
Today, COPUOS continues to play a lead role not only in promoting the development of space technologies and applications that are beneficial to mankind and the environment but also in creating the necessary conditions for non-space faring and developing countries like the Philippines to share in the benefits afforded by these technologies.
This year, the Philippines marks the 30th anniversary of its membership in COPUOS. We are commemorating this occasion by exerting renewed efforts towards the revitalization of our space technology applications program and in the utilization of such applications to support our country’s sustainable development program, the attainment of the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals and the realization of our national quality of life aspirations.
In this connection, the Philippines would like to welcome the continuing efforts of COPUOS to contribute to the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development. We expect it to continue focusing on the use of space solutions and initiatives of member-states in addressing priorities under the Commission’s thematic cluster for 2008-2009 such as agriculture, rural development, land, drought and desertification.
The Philippines would also like to see the implementation of actions called for at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. These include capacity-building and training opportunities for developing countries, combating desertification, the use of space technology for sustainable development, and the use of earth observation data for crop development and food security monitoring and management.
We would like to take this opportunity to give special mention to the United Nations Program on Space Applications, which oversees UN space-related activities. We would like to express our appreciation to the program for the capacity building and training opportunities it offers to the Philippines.
Through this program, the Philippines has been able to regularly send government scientists and other experts to take part in useful courses and workshops on topics such as remote-sensing and global navigation satellite systems, among others.
The Philippines would like to highlight the role of space technology and applications in disaster prevention, response and management. We acknowledge the critical role of mechanisms such as the Sentinel Asia system and the newly created SPIDER or the Space-Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response in facilitating access to and sharing of valuable space-based data.
We welcome the progress being made to make SPIDER operational, particularly the establishment of offices in Bonn and Beijing and a liaison office in Geneva.
As a disaster prone country, the Philippines stands to benefit from the universal access to all types of space-based information and services related to disaster management that SPIDER is designed to provide.
We thus welcome the approval during the 50th COPUOS session of the SPIDER work plan for the biennium 2008-2009. We also appeal to donor countries for them to make the SPIDER program for 2007 and for 2008-2009 operational by providing cash and in-kind contributions.
The Philippines would also like to underscore the importance of international cooperation in assisting developing countries in the development of their respective space technology/application programs, in particular the role played by regional arrangements such as the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum in facilitating such cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.
In closing, the Philippines reaffirms its commitment to contribute to the work of the United Nations in promoting peaceful uses of outer space through its membership in COPUOS.
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