UN Committee on the

Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

The United Nations Committee for the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) is a United Nations agency with the mandate of promoting peaceful international cooperation in the usage and exploration of outer space, and sustainable use of space technology.

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Topic 1: Militarization of outer space

Outer space – the final frontier for human exploration. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 laid the foundation for international space law based upon the peaceful usage of outer space, but it does not ban military activities in space. In recent years, as satellites become increasingly essential to the facilitation of modern-day life, the military aspects of countries’ outer space capabilities have risen in priority as well. Most worryingly, the recent establishment of the United States Space Force in 2019 as an independent military service of the US Armed Forces marks the biggest step towards the militarisation of space, and could spark an arms race in fear the ramifications of one country having military superiority over such a vital region like outer space. Delegates will discuss how to regulate any militarization of space or potentially curb it instead.

Topic 2: Space debris and waste management

With the increased usage of satellites in orbit of Earth for various economic purposes, the economic threat that space debris poses continues to worsen due to potential damage to satellites. This amount of space debris is only projected to continue growing at an increasing rate and will hamper any intended uses of outer space. Currently, there is no international framework regarding the mitigation of space debris, the closest being the European Space Agency’s requirements on space debris mitigation for ESA projects, as well as little international efforts to clean up existing space debris as well. Delegates will discuss how international collaboration can be used to improve current processes, including cost mitigation and transparency.

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