Singapore applies for COPUOS membership

74th session of the UN General Assembly. Image courtesy of Kemlu.go.id

Singapore has applied to join the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), the international body responsible for reviewing space law and promoting cooperation between states. COPUOS is part of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the UN division that handles international space activities.

The application was made earlier this year in June. Following that, on 30 October 2019, the Singapore government by released its official statement to the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, during which is reaffirmed Singapore’s intention to join COPUOS as part of ASEAN.

Said Colonel Lim Tong Hai, Military Advisor and Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN, “Singapore has applied to become a member of COPUOS in order to participate more actively in international dialogue and cooperation so as to promote the peaceful uses and long-term sustainability of space activities…. We look forward to more collective efforts of the international community to strengthen and maintain the relevance of the global space governance framework, including keeping pace with latest technological advances.”

During his speech, Lim emphasized Singapore’s stance that “outer space should be preserved as a peaceful global commons” and the need to address challenges such as space debris and orbital congestion. He also highlighted Singapore’s support for Indonesia’s COPUOS statement on behalf of ASEAN; the Indonesian speech stressed on the importance of improving access to space technology through capacity building and technology transfer.

Singapore will be the sixth ASEAN country to join COPUOS, after Indonesia (1973), the Philippines (1977), Vietnam (1980), Malaysia (1994), Thailand (2004). So far, Singapore has built and launched one commercial satellite, the 400-kg earth observation satellite TeLEOS-1 developed by ST Electronics, and at least 10 experimental satellites. Singapore has no space agency, although it has an Office for Space Technology & Industry (OSTIn), which is a part of the Economic Development Board.

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