Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe is leading a delegation to the UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE+50), which started on Monday.
The Deputy Minister heads a delegation to the UNISPACE+50 Symposium in Vienna, Austria. The symposium runs until Thursday, with the 61st session of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) starting on Friday.
UNCOPUOS runs until June 29.
Magwanishe, who will deliver a country statement at UNISPACE+50, said South Africa is a respected member of UNCOPUOS and its sub-committees and will continue to play a leadership role within the UN Multilateral System. This will be through ongoing active participation and enhancing international co-operation with key partners for development of the industry.
“We are committed to actively engage UNCOPUOS on possible reforms of global space governance structures to take into account the increasing number of new space actors and the increasing importance of commercial space actors in the international space environment. This is all in the context of ensuring the long term sustainability of outer space activities,” Magwanishe said.
There will also be industry engagements through the sideline exhibition for industry where South Africa will showcase space indistry capabilities.
The conference will see the international community mark the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
Magwanishe said the Department of Trade and Industry, as custodian of the primary legislative regime, has the responsibility of ensuring South Africa makes a meaningful contribution to the work of the UNCOPUOS committee and to further ensure the interests of the nation are considered.
He said attending and making contributions would be beneficial to the country’s space industry.
The goal of UNISPACE+50 is to take stock of its past and endorse a resolution for submission to the General Assembly later in the year.
The goal is also to further build, together with all stakeholders, a comprehensive Space 2030 Agenda for the contribution of space activities to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.