Tuesday, June 9, 2009

SGAC makes a statement to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

The current SGAC co-chair, Agnieszka Lukaszczyk presented on June 3rd to the United Nations Committee on the Peacefull Uses of Outer Space. Her presentation highlighted not only the basis, history, and values of SGAC but also brought to the Committee's attention SGAC's very special 10-year milestone that was celebrated June 5-7 with the 10 Year Anniversary Conference. The full text can be found below.

Well done, Agnieszka, on representing SGAC!


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As you and the distinguished delegates may know this year is very special for us, as we are celebrating our 10 Year Anniversary. First, allow me to give a bit of historical overview on SAGC. In December 1997, the UNOOSA Secretariat invited key young space enthusiasts to organize a youth forum as part of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Those young people then solicited alumni volunteers to plan, organize and conduct the Space Generation Forum, in parallel with other UNISPACE III activities. Thus, the Space Generation Forum was planned, organized and conducted by young space professionals. The 160 participants in the Space Generation Forum were from 60 nations. Their expertise covered all fields of space, including science, technology, law, ethics, art, literature, anthropology, architecture, and many other fields relevant to space. On July 23rd, the participants had before them a document containing the 49 recommendations. The participants were asked to choose the ten best recommendations, which are contained in the document entitled “Space Generation Forum: Visions and Perspectives of Youth.”

As part of UNISPACE III, alumni of the International Space University organized and convened the Space Generation Forum (SGF). The aim of the forum was to express the visions and perspectives of youth with regards to future space activities. This evolved to include a youth input into the deliberations of the UN at UNISPACE, and was charged to make recommendations to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Over 160 young people from 60 countries attended the forum, which ran parallel to the UNISPACE III proceedings.

Of the ten recommendations from the SGF technical report that were accepted by the UN, five were integrated into the Vienna Declaration.

One of the recommendations was "To create a council to support the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), through raising awareness and exchange of fresh ideas by youth. The vision is to employ the creativity and vigour of youth in advancing humanity through the peaceful uses space".

Ten years have passed, and we have grown strength upon strength. By now, we have over 4,000 members in about 90 countries. We pride ourselves on offering opportunities to young people to engage in space projects and events regardless of where they are from.

This weekend we will hold our 10 Year Anniversary Conference entitled “UNISPACE III – how far have we come”, which will take place at the European Space Policy Institute. Young people from all very the world are coming back to Vienna to analyze the past, learn from it and plan for the future. We will have working groups, which will produce an output that will be presented to this committee next week. We want to demonstrate to the international community that young people are concerned with the space policy issues and want to contribute to the debate on space. Just like ten years ago, we will offer a platform for young people to exchange ideas and brainstorm together with experts and member state representatives. This will facilitate not only international cooperation but also a cooperation between generations.

Additionally, we are organising a 10 Year Anniversary Reception this Friday at 7:30pm at the Boesendorfer Piano Factory in the 4th district of Vienna. We would be honoured if the distinguished delegates of this committee would join us in this very important celebration for us. We will distribute invitations this week, and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone to the Boesendorfer.

There are many people who have contributed to the success of this Space Generation and it is simply impossible to mention them all. They might not be mentioned in this statement but they are certainly not forgotten. Young people today are in need of role models, and we thank all those who support our activities and take their time to mentor us. We certainly appreciate the constant support of the UN OOSA. Dr. Mazlan Othman has been very open to our ideas and has offered a helping hand on many occasions, which is more than we could have asked for.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the current Chair of COPUOS for his tremendous support for our work. Ambassador Arevalo, has been supporting youth space activities to a degree we haven’t seen from a COPUOS Chair before. He has become an inspiration and a true role model to many of our members, and we very much appreciate it. Young people around the world need guidance, motivation, and attention. Having someone like a Chair of COPUOS taking time in his very busy schedule to speak with them, offer advice and engage in projects makes a world of difference and that is why we want to thank Ambassador Arevalo for taking an interest in the work, plans and dreams of those young space enthusiasts.

I would like to end with, once again, cordially inviting everyone to our reception on Friday!

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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