Statement by Mr. Nirupam Dev Nath, Counsellor under the Thematic Discussion on “Outer Space (Disarmament Aspects)” at the First Committee of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, 29 October 2019 in Conference Room 4
Bangladesh aligns itself with the Statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) under this thematic discussion.
We share our concerns with other delegates about catastrophic consequences of weaponization, strategic competition and military conflicts in outer space. As a State Party to the Outer Space Treaty, we support the fundamental premise laid out in the Treaty for the exploration and use of outer space for the greater benefits of all humankind. We also underscore the paramount importance of the use of the outer space for peaceful purposes to achieve our shared goals under Agenda 2030. Essentially, we subscribe the idea that the developing countries at different level of space science and technological capabilities should have equal opportunities to voice their perspectives and concerns in defining the future rules of the road of the Outer Space.
We take positive note of the work and the deliberation of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) established under the resolution A/RES/72/250 on prevention of arms race in outer space, although, regrettably it fell short of reaching consensus on its final report. In carrying forward our future negotiations on outer space issues, we hope that the works of the GGE will have important contributions.
With our first communication satellite Bangabandhu I launched into space, our stake for a secured and peaceful outer space is more than ever before. We, therefore, reiterate the importance of developing a universal, non-discriminatory international legally binding instrument on prevention of arms race in the outer space, building on the existing legal regime, inter alia, concerning disarmament, arms control, environmental, humanitarian, and outer space use. Pursuant to our principled position, Bangladesh would commit to refraining from first placement of weapons in the outer space. In absence of such a universal instrument, we emphasize on the critical importance of various transparency and confidence building measures (TCBMs) to complement on the existing international legal framework pertaining to outer space activities to reduce risks of miscalculations and misunderstandings. We also need to scale up our efforts towards capacity building of developing countries to contribute to the debates and developments in the outer space sphere in an inclusive and transparent manner.
In view of the alarming concentration of debris in outer space and the threat they pose to space objects and activities, it is critical that meaningful initiatives be taken to tackle this challenge. We urge upon the major space actors that have been mostly responsible for proliferating debris in the outer space environment to take upon themselves the added responsibility to make this expanding frontier for human endeavour safer and sustainable.
I thank you.