Statements and Articles

Statement by Mr. Dumitru PRUNARIU, President of the Scientific Council of the Romanian Space Agency

Speaker: Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu

Location: UN Headquarters 

Statement by Mr. Dumitru PRUNARIU, President of the Scientific Council of the Romanian Space Agency, in the thematic debate on outer space in the First Committee of the General Assembly, October 17, 2011

Mr. Chairman,

At its release back in June 1989, "Star Track V: The Last Frontier" was considered  pure science fiction. As we speak, space has became the last frontier for reality. Not only in the intertwined reality of our globalized life, but also for individual nations, the outer space itself and the growing activities undertaken in outer space are of crucial importance.

With some significant milestones, Romania has the status of a space faring nation. This year my country celebrated a twofold aniversary: 50 years since the first human ventured beyond the Earth atmosphere, as well as 30 years from the first experience of a Romanian in outer space.   

Drawing closer to current day, let me point out just a few events that took place in 2011. In January, in Bucharest, the Government of Romania and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed the Agreement for my country's accession to the ESA Convention. As the 19th full-flagged member, Romania will benefit from all the Agency's programs, including transfer of technology and know-how. The direct access to ESA space systems will contribute to the development at a higher level of space aplications in the field of agriculture, environment, transportation, disaster management and medicine.

Between May 8th to 13th, Bucharest hosted the 2nd International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference. During the conference were approached all aspects of the asteroid impact threat, including observations and orbit determination, impact physics, spacecraft missions to asteroids, mitigation/deflection techniques, and even disaster management and the political aspects of the near-Earth object (NEO) threat.

The GEOSS Summer School was organized in Constanţa, from August 29th to September 4th, with the main goal to acquire knowledge on current use of EO data and image information mining techniques contributing to prevent, monitor and assess the impact of natural and man-made disasters and crisis situations.

I must not lose sight of a premiere for my country: the Romanian Space Agency and The Măgurele Space Sciences Institute will take part in the planning and preparation of the space mission "Euclid". On October 5, this mission was selected by ESA to be part of the Cosmic Vision Program to be launched in 2019.  

Romania holds the chairmanship of UN COPUOS for the timespan 2010 to 2012. On 1st of June this year, as Chairman of COPUOS, I had the privilege to preside the session dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the first manned space flight and of the first session of COPUOS. Romania was among the founders of COPUOS in 1959, and for many years it held the position of Vice-Chair of the committee, being involved from the very beginning in the elaboration of the main legal framework concerning the activity of States into outer space. Between 2004 and 2006, Romania held as well the position of Chair of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of COPUOS.

Taking into account all this activities, Romania is of the opinion that it is crucial to work towards preserving a peaceful, safe and secure outer space environment and to use it on equitable and mutually acceptable basis.

We all recognize and abide by the existing international legal framework regulating the peaceful uses of outer space. In this context, Romania follows with great interest the multilateral debates on the necessity and opportunity to further elaborate and strengthen it. 

As a member State of the European Union, Romania took part in the elaboration of the international Code of Conduct for Outer Space activities. We would like to reiterate that the draft Code is intended to be applicable, on a voluntary basis, to all outer space activities conducted by States, as well as by non-governmental entities. The new multilateral instrument would lay down the main rules to be observed by space faring nations in both civil an military activities. Conceived as a trasparency and confidence building measure, the core aim of the Code is to provide measures for preventing space from becoming an area of conflict.

In the same vein, Romania reaffirms its interest to engage into real debates, in the Conference on Disarmament, on agenda item entitled "Prevention of an arms race into outer space". In this respect, we again call for the resumption of the Conference’s substantive activity, with negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-of Treaty, in parallel with discussions on all remaining subjects.

Finnaly, I would like to point out to the fact that Romania has been a co-sponsor of the resolution on Transparency and Confidence Building Measures in Outer Space Activities, traditionally tabled by the Russian Federation and China and we look forward to the set up next year of the group of governmental experts to conduct a study on these issues.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.  

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