UAE Participates in Third Session of Open-Ended Working Group on Reducing Space Threats

01 February 2023

Geneva, Switzerland, February 1, 2023 – A United Arab Emirates delegation, led by H.E. Omran Sharaf, Assistant Minister for Advanced Sciences and Technology Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and members from the UAE Space Agency, are participating in the United Nations' Open-ended Working Group on Reducing Space Threats through Norms, Rules, and Principles of Responsible Behaviors. The third session aims to provide recommendations on mitigating threats by states to space systems, including preventing an arms race in outer space.

Held in Geneva, Switzerland, from January 30 to February 3, 2023, the session brings together state, industry, and thought leaders to discuss the development of instruments to ensure the peaceful and responsible use of outer space.

UAE participation comes in line with its commitment to supporting decisions that maintain peaceful uses of outer space and the long-term sustainability of space activities and the space environment.

Considering the importance of space accessibility, the UAE supports common norms that will minimize current risks without enforcing any instruments that could limit any country from building capabilities in space systems.

"The UAE does not consider space activities as a race. We look at it as an area that enables international cooperation, builds capabilities, and serves humankind. We highly appreciate international efforts in reducing space threats, and we expect these efforts to bridge the regulatory gap caused by advancements in space technologies and systems," said H.E. Omran Sharaf.

H.E. Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The UAE is one of the key decision-makers in international space-related policies, supporting the development of new dynamic regulations to promote the peaceful use of space, while boosting trust and transparency between all stakeholders. Global collaboration can help reduce and eliminate space threats and a potential arms race in space and provide fair and comprehensive solutions to ensure access for all to this limited and highly valuable resource.”

The UAE’s participation aligns with the aim of the working group to ensure global peace and security through collaboration and create a safe and sustainable outer space environment for future generations.

During the third session, the UAE delegation will present recommendations developed as an outcome of the first edition of the Abu Dhabi Space Debate on possible norms, rules, and principles of responsible behaviors relating to space threats. Some of the recommendations include setting an International Space Governance Framework with the objective of strengthening transparency across the sector.

The Abu Dhabi Space Debate provides a platform for global leaders to collectively address issues and opportunities for the sector while providing actionable insights and developing a collaborative global space industry. The first edition of the debate, held in December 2022, brought together over 300 decision-makers, ministers, and representatives of international space agencies from more than 47 countries.

Moreover, the UAE has been selected to chair the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), with 100 member states, for the 2022-2023 term. This appointment reflects the UAE's prominence in space policy and efforts to promote discussions on vital global issues facing the space industry. It also showcases the UAE’s diplomatic and soft power capabilities in supporting international agreements and accords in response to geopolitical and economic challenges.