Bangladesh aligns itself with the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Bangladesh considers outer space as a global common, beyond the jurisdiction of any one State. Therefore, we recognize access to outer space as an inalienable right of all States. We believe that the exploration and use of outer space should exclusively be for peaceful purposes only, which would benefit all humanity. [And] from that conviction, we have become member of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) last year.
In today’s world, space assets have transformed the way we live and outer space systems are vital for understanding and solving global problems, such as implementation of SDGs and climate action. It is therefore imperative that all activities in the outer space be done in accordance with international law and the principle of non-appropriation of outer space.
We remain deeply concerned about the catastrophic consequences of weaponization, strategic competition and military conflicts in outer space. Armed conflict in space would make the entire domain a battlefield and jeopardize international peace and security. As a State Party to the Outer Space Treaty, we reaffirm the vital importance of preventing arms race in outer space.
Bangladesh reemphasizes the urgent need for the commencement of substantive negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on a legally binding and multilaterally verifiable instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS) in all its aspects. We call for enhanced coordination between the work of First Committee and other relevant UN bodies, including COPUOS, CD, and the Disarmament Commission.
Bangladesh takes note of the first meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group in May 2022 established by the GA resolution 76/231 to consider threats to space and to recommend norms, rules, and principles of responsible behaviour in space and how they would contribute to legally binding instruments in this area. We hope that Member States will be able to put aside their differences and have a productive discussion in the OEWG on outer space.
Increasing congestion and competition in outer space could imperil access and use by our succeeding generations. 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 call on spacefaring nations to respect applicable laws and norms on the use of weapons in outer space and develop appropriate and effective instruments that will prevent an arms race in outer space.
Bangladesh underscores the activities in outer space must not remain the exclusive preserve of a small group of States. We call for strengthening of capacity-building programmes, with particular emphasis on developing countries, to ensure that outer space is, both in principle and in practice, a truly global commons which all States can avail themselves to.
We call upon the international community to scale up their efforts towards capacity building so that the developing countries can contribute to the outer space discourse in an inclusive and transparent manner.
While trust and confidence-building measures can be useful for preventing the weaponization of outer space, there is no denying the importance of concluding a legally binding international instrument for this.
We urge States not to use any space- or ground-based capabilities, including anti-satellite (ASAT), whether exclusively military or multi-use, to deliberately damage or destroy space assets.
Finally, Mr. Chair, the major space actors that have been mostly responsible for damaging the outer space environment till date should also take upon themselves the added responsibility to make this expanding frontier for human endeavor safe and sustainable.
I thank you.