62ND SESSION OF THE LEGAL SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON THE PEACEFUL USES OF OUTER SPACE
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL STATEMENT
AGENDA ITEM NO. 11 “GENERAL EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION AND VIEWS ON LEGAL MECHANISMS RELATING TO SPACE DEBRIS MITIGATION AND REMEDIATION MEASURES, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE WORK OF THE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SUBCOMMITTEE”
MR. KRITZMAN G. CABALLERO
CHIEF, SPACE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION DIVISION
PHILIPPINE SPACE AGENCY (PhilSA)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
On behalf of the Philippines, I would like to express my appreciation to you Madam Chair Nomfuneko Majaja, and to the dedicated staff at the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs for the Chairmanship of the 62nd session of the Legal Subcommittee of the UN COPUOS. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Acting Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs and Secretary of the Subcommittee, Mr. Niklas Hedman, and the Secretariat for the preparations made in convening this subcommittee meeting.
With the recently concluded 61st Session Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) of the UN COPUOS, the Philippines delivered country statements in the following agenda items:
- Agenda Item 3: General exchange of views
- Agenda item 6: Matters relating to remote sensing of the Earth by satellite, including applications for developing countries and monitoring of the Earth’s atmosphere
- Agenda item 12: Long-term sustainability of outer space activities
We highlighted the recent developments in the country’s space science and technology ecosystem as well as our participation and contribution to the acceleration of the scientific and technical activities in outer space. We note that the invaluable work of the STSC provides a myriad of opportunities to further collaborate with other nations under the auspices of the United Nations legal instruments.
With the rapid progress in space science and technology applications and the emergence of new space-capable nations and actors, the world is observing an increasing trend in outer space activities. Hence, also an increase in the frequency of rocket launches and the risks of damage from falling space debris as well as collisions of space objects in orbit. Madam Chair, I am pleased to inform you that the Philippines, through the Philippine Space Council, adopted Resolution No. 005, Series of 2021, which paved the way for the creation of a Technical Working group on Orbital Debris Protocols, which will serve as the advisory body for the coordination, discussion, formulation, and integration of strategies, protocols guidelines and similar mechanisms that will promote and ensure appropriate responses to rocket launches and other outer space activities that will pose risks to the Philippines and the region.
Since the creation of the said TWG, the country has fleshed out common issues experienced on the ground. However, we are confronted by the unprecedented issues of space debris from other countries’ space activities.
Madam Chair, through a whole-of-government approach, we have established a proactive response in addressing space debris issues. But, the country still needs close coordination with other nations on space activities that would pose risk to the Philippines. Hence, we call on other space-faring countries to be more transparent and to abide by the existing United Nations guidelines on space debris mitigation. We are optimistic that this platform will open for further discussion and continuous dialogue the possible avenues in addressing issues on space debris.
Moreover, the Philippines aligns itself with the statement of the Group of 77 and China and expresses its support for the recommendation of greater interaction between the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The country believes that along with the recent developments in space scientific and technical activities, nations should conform to the existing United Nations legal instruments.
In closing, Madam Chair, the Philippines as an emerging space-capable country reaffirms its commitment to observing the Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines and the Liability Convention of the United Nations. We remain open for discussion with neighboring countries and other space actors to further develop mechanisms utilizing all facets of diplomacy to have a collective effort in addressing issues on space debris.
Thank you, Madam Chair.