United Nations Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Thematic Debate Cluster 3: Outer Space

Wednesday, 26 October 2022
Ms. Diane Shayne D. Lipana, First Committee Expert, Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters


Mister Chair,

Excellencies and distinguished delegates,

The Philippines associates itself with the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of NAM and by Malaysia on behalf of ASEAN.

We view outer space not only as a global common, but as a common heritage of humankind.  All nations have the right to the peaceful uses of outer space, but this right must be exercised with due regard to the rights and interests of others, and to the preservation of outer space for future generations. Spacefaring nations are mere stewards for future generations.

Preserving outer space also requires that we secure it and keep it free from weapons and of weaponization. We remain driven by our aspiration for legally binding instruments on preventing an arms race in outer space, including the prevention of placement of weapons and the threat or use of force against space objects. We must continue to work for this end.

At the same time, the absence of agreed norms heightens the risks and threats to outer space security. The debate on the commencement of negotiations for such instruments must not hinder progress on practical consensus measures that will enhance outer space security. It is in this context that President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has called on this General Assembly last month to define the norms of responsible behavior in outer space.

We therefore welcome the ongoing work of the Open-Ended Working Group established by U.N. General Assembly Resolution 76/231. The Philippines, together with ASEAN and other like-minded partners, have been working constructively at this OEWG, building bridges with the view to achieving positive outcomes.

Mister Chair,

Like many developing countries, the Philippines is becoming increasingly reliant on space-based infrastructure. We have a modest space program that we intend to expand. We see access to outer space as an inalienable right of developing countries. We have a direct interest in outer space security, a topic that should never be an exclusive preserve of a few major spacefaring states.

Discussions on outer space security need to transcend the traditional strategic paradigm. The security of outer space is no longer about maintaining strategic parity among major spacefaring powers. It is about securing outer space for the peaceful uses of all nations, including developing countries, and all generations.

We are concerned about the security doctrines that classify outer space as a strategic or warfighting domain. We see risks in insufficient understanding of the purpose and use of certain space assets and technologies and of mutual threat perceptions; the lack of channels of communication and of transparency on national space programs, policies, strategies, and doctrines; and the absence of clear and internationally understood standards and norms of behavior.

Together with Germany, we presented a constructive characterization of our outer space security concerns and provided a list of behavior that we consider to be risks and threats. The Philippines is particularly concerned about any deliberate debris-creating behaviors, including kinetic direct-ascent anti-satellite tests and uncoordinated launches and uncoordinated and uncontrolled re-entry. We urge all Member States to subscribe to the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.

The legally binding obligation of “due regard” is a foundational principle in defining responsible behavior in outer space. Transparency, communications, and consultations are important in enhancing outer space security.

Mister Chair,

These considerations affirm that the only enduring way to securing outer space for all nations and for all generations is through legally binding instruments. In this regard, we must overcome our political and ideological differences, sharpen our convergences, and demonstrate that multilateralism works.

We support calls for the commencement of substantive negotiations on a legally binding and multilaterally verifiable instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space, including the prohibition of the placement of weapons in outer space and the prohibition of the threat or use of force against outer space objects. Any initiatives on this subject must take into account the security concerns of all states and their inherent right to peaceful uses of space technologies.

Thank you, Mister Chair.