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					United Nations                                                                                           COPUOS/LEGAL/T.703
Committee on the Peaceful                                                                                        Unedited transcript
Uses of Outer Space
Legal Subcommittee

703rd Meeting
Monday, 5 April 2004, 10 a.m.
Vienna


                                            Chairman: Mr. S. Marchisio (Italy)

    The meeting was called to order at 10.13 a.m.                      the Subcommittee on the conclusions of the Working
                                                                       Group on Item 6. Mr. Cassapoglou, you have the floor.
         The CHAIRMAN: Good morning ladies and
gentlemen, distinguished delegates, I now declare open                          Mr.     V.     CASSAPOGLOU             (Greece)
the 703rd meeting of the Legal Subcommittee of the                     (interpretation from French):        Thank you Mr.
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.                         Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to ask you
                                                                       as a point of order before proceeding to this task, I
         This morning we will begin with item 6,                       would like to ask you then if I could make Greece’s
Status and Application of the Five United Nations                      general statement. Given my workload last week, I did
Treaties on Outer Space, in order to allow the                         not have the time at the formal plenary to take the floor
Chairman of the Working Group to report back to the                    and make my country’s statement on a number of items
Plenary on the conclusions of the Working Group. We                    of the agenda which are currently being examined. So
will then begin consideration of agenda item 10, Draft                 if I may, or would you prefer me to first make my
Protocol on Matters Specific to Space Assets. We will                  report and then we turn wearing my national speakers
continue agenda item 11, Contributions by the Legal                    hat. Thank you.
Subcommittee to the Committee Report on the
Recommendations of UNISPACE III, and we will                                    The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from
begin agenda item 12, Practice in Registering Space                    French): Thank you to the distinguished representative
Objects.                                                               of Greece. You know that the general exchange of
                                                                       views item has been closed and so I would prefer you
         Following the Subcommittee plenary, the                       to continue with your report to the Subcommittee and
Working Group on Agenda Item 10, Draft Protocol on                     then if the Subcommittee is in agreement we might
Matters Specific to Space Assets, will hold its first                  then continue to listen to your statement. If I might,
meeting, and the Working Group established by the                      could you, rather than making a comprehensive,
Committee to prepare a report on the implementation                    overarching statement, could you look at the items of
of the recommendations of UNISPACE III for                             the agenda that are remaining and to make specific
submission to the General Assembly, will continue                      statements on those, or what was your plan?
with informal consultations.
                                                                                  The representative from Greece.
Status and application of the five United Nations
treaties on outer space (agenda item 6)                          Mr.     V.    CASSAPOGLOU              (Greece)
                                                       (interpretation from French): Yes, Mr. Chairman. For
         Distinguished delegates, I would now like to  at least four years now, in order to facilitate the work
invite the Chairman of the Working Group on Item 6,    of the two Subcommittees and the full Committee to
Status and Application of the Five United Nations      make statements where we include all items of the
Treaties, Mr. Vassilios Cassapoglou, to report back to agenda and include our country’s point of view on all
                                                       of them in one single statement, and that might be the
________________________________________________________________________________________________
                           In its resolution 50/27 of 6 December 1995, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendation of the
                           Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space that, beginning with its thirty-ninth session, the Committee would
                           be provided with unedited transcripts in lieu of verbatim records. This record contains the texts of speeches
                           delivered in English and interpretations of speeches delivered in the other languages as transcribed from taped
                           recordings. The transcripts have not been edited or revised.

                           Corrections should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record
                           and be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned, within one week of the date of
                           publication, to the Chief, Translation and Editorial Service, Room D0708, United Nations Office at Vienna,
                           P.O. Box 500, A-1400, Vienna, Austria. Corrections will be issued in a consolidated corrigendum.


V.04-54351e
most appropriate, given the fact that we have and very                Mr.      V.      CASSAPOGLOU          (Greece)
carefully or closely followed the items on the agenda in    (interpretation from French):            Thank you Mr.
order but we have looked at several at the same time, it    Chairman. Mr. Chairman, as I am now taking the floor
might be easier to proceed in that manner. However, I       officially for the first time in the full Subcommittee of
am in your hands and I am happy to make as many             the forty-third session of our Subcommittee, I would
statements as there are unfinished items.                   like to begin by extending warm congratulations on
                                                            behalf of Greece and my own sincere joy at seeing you
        The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from                   unanimously elected to the position of Chair.
French): So we might first continue with the report         Moreover, this is a remarkable event, not only for the
and then I will come to the national statement. Thank       Mediterranean region of Western Europe, but also for
you.                                                        all member States of COPUOS and its two
                                                            Subcommittees. It is a remarkable event, indeed,
          Mr. V. CASSAPOGLOU (Greece): Thank                because it inaugurates a new era in the life of the
you. Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, ladies and      Organization and institution after reorganizing working
gentlemen, I am pleased to report that the Working          methods. This is a process that began at Greece’s
Group on Item 6 was able to reach some tangible             initiative some eight years ago now. At this time, I
results after its week of deliberation. The results were    would like to wish you every success in your
two-fold. Primo, following informal consultations, the      endeavours with your very sensitive and interesting
Working Group at its eighth meeting of 2 April 2004         mission and I further would like to say that my
agreed on the text of a resolution on the application of    delegation is pleased to reassure you of our
the concept of the “launching State” for the                delegation’s entire cooperation to see your efforts
consideration of the United Nations General Assembly.       crowned with success.
The text of the draft resolution was distributed this
morning in document A/AC.105/C.2/2004/CRP.16.                         And before briefly addressing the various
                                                            issues on the agenda of this session, I would like to
         At its sixth meeting, the Working Group            first express Greece’s sincere condolences and my own
approved also the text of a model letter, together with     condolences for the unexpected disappearance of our
information material to be attached thereto, to be sent     distinguished colleague and friend of many years, the
by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to           former Ambassador of Colombia, Hector Charry-
Ministers of Foreign Affairs of States that have not yet    Samper.      I will never forget his very unique
become Parties to the United Nations treaties on outer      contribution to the formulation of legal norms for the
space. The Working Group also agreed that the single        statutes and use of the geostationary orbit, which I had
letter be sent to international organizations that have     developed as an author of the relevant provision of the
not yet declared their acceptance of the rights and         Convention, which is now a Constitution of the
obligations under these treaties. We mean international     International Telecommunication Union, during the
organizations      undertaking     space      activities,   very difficult and innovative conference in Nairobi in
intergovernmental organizations that are undertaking        1982.
outer space activities. The text as revised by the
Working Group was circulated this morning in                          Moreover, I have the same feelings of great
document A/AC.105/C.2/2004/CRP.12/Rev.1.                    pain filling my heart and our hearts when I think of the
                                                            innocent victims of the blind and atrocious terror that
          I think, Mr. Chairman, that is all we have        struck the people of Spain and Palestine recently. I am
done with these last days and I am very happy to            convinced and sincerely hope that this type of barbaric
realize that the Working Group was a very useful tool       act, which is tyrannizing international life at this time,
to promote the objectives of our Subcommittee and           will instantaneously disappear when these countries
especially under the agenda item 6. Thank you very          can understand that the cause of this crisis, this
much Mr. Chairman.                                          endemic crisis, is the direct result of policies which
                                                            deny the basic principles of the United Nations
        The CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much                   Charter.
Mr. Cassapoglou for your report.
                                                                     Mr. Chairman, before taking up the various
         Are there still any delegations wishing to         items of the agenda, I would like to announce to the
address the Subcommittee under this agenda item?            Subcommittee the following. Items 6 and 12, Status
                                                            and Application of the Five Treaties, Practice of States
         I see none.                                        and International Organizations Regarding the Registry
                                                            of Space Objects. With regard to the activities of my
         Greece, please, you have the floor.                country in this area, I would like to announce that the
                                                            National Parliament, by adoption of Law 3333, last
April, confirmed Greece’s adherence to the Convention        especially for the success of space activity and the
on Registry.                                                 evolution of them, globally, regardless of scientific,
                                                             technological and economic progress achieved by
          Also, the launching of the first new Greek         various countries in the world. And thus, this subject
satellite of radio-communications under the name,            must, of course, continue to be examined on an
HELLAS SAT 2 was carried out and accompanied by              ongoing basis by our Subcommittee. And on this
the ILS from Cape Canaveral, United States, on 14            subject, I should also underscore the very significant
May 2003, in keeping with the legal conditions set           role of the Working Group which has proven to be very
forth by international space law. This is a satellite that   useful for international cooperation, as was solemnly
was manufactured by the European company, Astrium,           approved by Friday’s approval of the draft resolution
and launched by ATLAS-5. A technical file, a                 on the concept of the launching State, as well as the
complete file on HELLAS SAT 2 has already been put           draft official letter from the Secretary-General of the
forth with the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee         United Nations to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of
during its last session in February.                         Member States and to the leaders of international
                                                             organizations and intergovernmental organizations
           Moreover, our Ministry of Foreign Affairs         involved in space activities. And, moreover, this is
maintains a national registry of objects launched in         why Greece believes that the mandate of the Working
space and notified, four weeks ago, the Secretary-           Group which is to end this year should be renewed for
General of the United Nations of this launching so that      another three years so that it may continue with its
the satellite can be regularly registered on the             initial mission.
International Registry. The Director of the Office for
Outer Space Affairs informed me two days ago that,                     Moreover, our delegation is of the view that
according to instructions received from New York,            examining the subject of item 12 should be maintained
they have already proceeded to the registry of the           as a permanent issue, either in the context of the
satellite.                                                   Working Group or in the context of a different
                                                             Working Group. It is obvious that the information on
           Moreover, I would like to indicate that the       the practices of States’ registration and, generally
satellite in question does not belong to the Greek State     speaking, the results of this examination can no doubt
but rather to a private consortium in Cyprus which           be used as a clear basis for standardization rules in
includes a public operator of telecommunications, the        internal law in this area.
Greek aeronautical company, the Development Bank
and a company which provides Internet services in                    And now for the next item of the agenda, Mr.
Cyprus and, finally, the well-known company from             Chairman, I will take the floor later. Thank you very
Canada, Telesat.                                             much Sir.

         It shall also be noted that the Republic of                  The CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much
Cyprus notified the United Nations as a co-launching         distinguished delegate of Greece for your statement
State with Greece.                                           and for the words that you addressed to the Chair.

         Moreover, radio frequencies used for the                     Are there still any delegations wishing to
working and control and monitoring of the satellite is       address the Subcommittee under this agenda item?
placed on orbital position 39 degrees East of the
geostationary orbit and have been reported to the                    I see none.
International Telecommunication Union by Greece and
Cyprus respectively.                                                  We will, therefore, suspend consideration of
                                                             this item pending the adoption of the report of the
          And, finally, our country is actively preparing    Working Group.
for the introduction, as soon as possible, of legislative
measures, regulatory and administrative measures, to         Draft Protocol on Matters Specific to Space Assets
register both public and private space activities. This      (agenda item 10)
has become increasingly urgent and even vital after the
very recent approval by the European Space Agency                     Distinguished delegates, I would now like to
Board of Greece’s request to become a full-fledged           begin consideration of item 10, Draft Protocol on
member in this Organization.                                 Matters Specific to Space Assets.

          Before finishing with this item, I would just               I would like to inform delegations that the
like to underscore the great significance of this subject,   first session of the UNIDROIT Committee of
not only for the development of space law, but               Governmental Experts took place in Rome from 15-19
December 2003 for the preparation of a revised draft                 The next speaker on my list is the
Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in    distinguished representative of the United States of
Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Space               America. You have the floor United States.
Assets. This session was attended by representatives
from the Governments of 38 States, observers of                      Mr. K. HODGKINS (United States of
several intergovernmental organizations and observers       America): Thank you Mr. Chairman for affording me
of several international entities of private characters.    the opportunity to present the United States views
The first session of the UNIDROIT Committee of              regarding the work of the International Institute for the
Governmental Experts has led to a substantive progress      Unification of Private Law, UNIDROIT, and the
in the development of the revised text of the Space         development of a Space Assets Protocol.
Assets Protocol. The revised text can be found in
document A/AC.105/C.2/2004/CRP.5.                                    Since our last session, there have been some
                                                            positive    developments     regarding    this   issue.
         I see once again Greece on the list of             Implementation of the UNIDROIT Mobile Equipment
speakers. You have the floor Greece.                        Convention, now called the Cape Town Convention,
                                                            and Aircraft Protocol is now well under way. The
          Mr.     V.     CASSAPOGLOU             (Greece)   experience gathered in implementing these instruments
(interpretation from French):          Thank you Mr.        will certainly prove valuable as work on the Space
Chairman. With reference to item 10 of our agenda           Assets Protocol continues.
which has to do with the consideration of the draft
Protocol with regard to UNIDROIT, I would like to                    In December of last year, UNIDROIT
make two comments. Between (a), consideration and           convened the first session of governmental experts to
possibility to entrust the United Nations with the          discuss the proposed Space Assets Protocol. The
mission of exercising authority, monitoring authority       Negotiation Session was an informative and productive
of the provisions of the Protocol, the position of Greece   one. The United States participated and looks forward
is the same as before because we consider that the          to the next Negotiation Session in October of this year.
United Nations as per its Charter is not competent to
assume this responsibility because it is directly                    My Government is a firm supporter of the
involved in commercial, lucrative activities. Since at      goals of the proposed Space Assets Protocol. This
present there is no world space organization, it would      Protocol offers an exciting opportunity to facilitate the
seem preferable to either contact a specialized agency      expansion of the commercial space sector, as well as to
whose mission is closer to the monitoring mission           enable a broader range of States in all regions and at all
purposes, for example, ICAO or ITU, or by setting up        levels of economic development to benefit from this
possibly a new entity comprising Member States              expansion.
Parties to the Convention and Protocol.
                                                                       As we all are aware, the range and volume of
         Since, with regard to (b) of this item, having     activities in outer space being conducted by the private
to do with the link between the future of provisions in     sector have increased dramatically over the last several
the Protocol and the rights and obligations of the States   decades and particularly within the last five to 10
with regard to the regime applicable to space, it would     years. While there has been a dramatic increase in
be desirable to introduce a specific provision in the       such activities, it is also true that the commercial space
operative part of the Protocol as has been referred to      sector faces certain challenges. Commercial space
during    last    December’s      Rome      UNIDROIT        systems are extremely capital-intensive to plan, design,
Governmental Experts Meeting. But, of course, one           construct, insure, launch and operate. They can take
should continue to dwell on this point without going        years to complete. There is no established market for
into consideration and the substance of the provisions      commercial financing of such activities as exists for
of the draft Protocol which exercise is the exclusive       most other capital-intensive sectors. In light of the
province of the Member States of UNIDROIT, as well          increasing importance of commercial space activities,
as the participants of the future Ad Hoc Diplomatic         and the benefits that flow from these activities to all
Conference.                                                 regions and all levels of economic development, the
                                                            facilitation of financing for commercial space
         Consequently, Greece is open to any new            activities, through modern private financing
proposal or other idea and ready to make its                mechanisms, is a pressing need. The draft Space
constructive contribution. Thank you.                       Assets Protocol to the Cape Town Convention on
                                                            International Financing of Mobile Equipment aims to
         The CHAIRMAN: I thank you very much                address this need.         Specifically, it would set a
distinguished representative of Greece.                     framework through which States can support a system
                                                            of asset-based and receivables financing.              By
permitting such secured financing for the space sector,
it has considerable potential to enhance the availability             Given these anticipated parameters, we are
of commercial financing for outer space activities.          open to giving further consideration to the idea of an
This in turn could prove crucial to furthering the           existing United Nations body such as the Office for
provision of services from space to countries in all         Outer Space Affairs taking on the Supervisory
regions and at all levels of development.                    Authority role.

          We believe that it is appropriate that the                  Also on this Subcommittee’s agenda is the
examination of the preliminary draft Space Protocol          issue of the relationship between the terms of the
has remained on the Subcommittee’s agenda and                preliminary draft Protocol and the rights and
would like to comment on the two issues identified for       obligations of States under the legal regime applicable
discussion. The first issue on the agenda is the             to outer space. The Space Assets Protocol is not
possibility of the United Nations serving as a               intended to affect rights and obligations of States party
Supervisory Authority for the Registry established           to the Outer Space Treaty system or the rights and
under the Protocol. We are pleased that the Secretariat,     obligations of Member States of the International
in consultation with the United Nations Legal Counsel,       Telecommunication Union, under the International
has completed its report on this issue. The report           Telecommunication Union’s Constitution, Convention
discusses the possibility of the United Nations agreeing     and Regulations. Rather, it is intended to address the
to serve as a Supervisory Authority and some of the          distinct and important issue of financing for
related issues, including potential liability and recovery   commercial space activities, not the parameters for the
of all costs in serving as Supervisory Authority. The        conduct of those activities.
report provides a basis for initiating and consideration
of the issues. It is, of course, premature to draw any                 This issue was considered during the
conclusions on the matter by which such a function           December UNIDROIT Negotiation Session and there
may be structured within the United Nations system.          appeared to be substantial agreement that the Protocol
                                                             should in no way alter rights and obligations under the
         We remain open in principle to the possibility      Outer Space Treaties or the International
of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs         Telecommunication Union Convention. Indeed, our
taking on such a role. As we are all aware, any registry     delegation proposed that this principle be explicit in the
established under the Protocol would be a separate and       text of the Space Assets Protocol.
distinct entity from the United Nations Registry,
established under the Registration Convention, and for                With respect to the Subcommittee, we
any radio-communication sector of the International          certainly believe that the Legal Subcommittee and its
Telecommunication Record-Keeping, with respect to            members have expertise that may be valuable in the
the use of radio frequencies and related orbital             development of the Protocol.          Ultimately, the
locations.                                                   UNIDROIT Space Assets Protocol will be negotiated
                                                             by UNIDROIT Member States, through the
         Although the draft Protocol is in early stages      UNIDROIT process, but we certainly hope that the
of development, we anticipate that it will likely            Subcommittee will continue to offer its assistance
approach the Registry in a similar manner as has been        where appropriate.
done pursuant to the Aircraft Protocol. Specifically,
the Registry would be a computer-based registry                       We were pleased that the Office for Outer
including only minimal information as to possible            Space Affairs participated as an observer in the
creditors claims with respect to space assets.               December 2003 UNIDROIT Negotiation Session. We
                                                             hope that our discussions within this Subcommittee
        Since the Registry operator, or Registrar,           will continue to be helpful in informing the positions of
would not review information filed nor provide any           various Member States.
assurance as to its accuracy, we anticipate that registry
requirements for staff and other resources would be                  Given the ongoing work on this topic, we
quite modest.                                                would support the continued inclusion of this topic as a
                                                             one-year agenda item for the next session of the
          The     Supervisory     Authority,     if     an   Subcommittee. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
intergovernmental organization, would need generally
to be immune from legal or administrative process for                 The CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much
any issues relating to the Registry and its operation and    distinguished delegate of the United States.
this immunity would be set forth in the Protocol. As
with the Aircraft Protocol, the Registry operator would
likely be a private sector body that would bear liability.
         Now I have on the speakers list the observer        Convention have also become Contracting States to the
of the International Institute for the Unification of        Aircraft Protocol, which accordingly only requires
Private Law, UNIDROIT. You have the floor Sir.               another four Contracting States to enter into force. A
                                                             number of additional States are set fair to join the first
          Mr. M. J. STANFORD (International                  four, including the United States of America, where I
Institute for the Unification of Private Law): Thank         understand both the Convention and the Aircraft
you Mr. Chairman.          Good morning ladies and           Protocol to have recently cleared the Foreign Relations
gentlemen. First of all, permit me to address the            Committee of the Senate. As a result, the Secretariat
congratulations of the Secretariat of UNDROIT to             would expect the Aircraft Protocol and, thus, the
Professor Marchisio on his election as Chairman of the       Convention as applied to aircraft objects to enter into
Legal Subcommittee and to say what an honour it is for       force later this year. For its effective operation, the
UNIDROIT to be present at the forty-third session of         Convention would depend on the existence of an
the Legal Subcommittee. And I am greatly looking             international registry for each of the different
forward to following the discussions of the Legal            categories of objects covered by a Protocol.
Subcommittee and its Working Group, both on the
possibility of the United Nations serving as                          The funding necessary for the establishment
Supervisory Authority under the future Protocol on           of an International Registry for Aircraft Objects,
Matters Specific to Space Assets and on the                  having been secured earlier this year, the tendering
relationship between the terms of the preliminary draft      process for the establishment of that Registry was
Space Protocol and the rights and obligations of States      launched in late January of this year. A number of
under the legal regime applicable to outer space, and        tenders have already been received by the International
where the Legal Subcommittee and its Working Group           Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO. The Preparatory
judge appropriate to assisting them in their                 Commission set up by the Cape Town Diplomatic
deliberations.                                               Conference to act as provisional Supervisory Authority
                                                             for the establishment of the Registry under the
         My intention in this preliminary statement is       guidance and supervision of the ICAO Council, will be
not only to bring members of the Legal Subcommittee          holding its second session in Montreal on 27 and 28
up-to-date with the situation concerning the Cape            May. On that occasion, the Preparatory Commission
Town Convention in general and the preliminary draft         will be examining the different tenders submitted and
Space Protocol in particular, but also to seek to respond    deciding which to accept. As a result, we would expect
to the questions addressed to me by the Legal                the International Registry for Aircraft Objects to be
Subcommittee at the end of its forty-second session.         operational at the latest by the end of the current year
                                                             and perhaps even as early as September.
         To start with, permit me to put you in the
picture of the developments regarding the Convention                   Clearly, for UNIDROIT, as Depositary of the
and the preliminary draft Protocol over the past 12          Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol, the
months.                                                      most important concern is an International Registry for
                                                             Aircraft Objects should be up and running by the time
          To take the Convention first, it now counts 28     of the entry into force of the Convention, as applied to
Signature States. I have given you a list in the recent      aircraft objects. As Depositary, UNIDROIT has the
version of this statement and I will not, therefore,         duty to communicate all instruments of ratifications
repeat them but they include a variety, a cross-section      and the declarations made thereunder to both the
of States from different parts of the world and different    Supervisory Authority and the International Registry
legal and economic systems. The Convention also              for Aircraft Objects.
counts four Contracting States, namely Ethiopia,
Nigeria, Pakistan and Panama. It entered into force for               Given the extremely complex nature of the
Ethiopia, Nigeria and Panama on 1 April 2004, albeit         system of declarations underpinning the Convention
only as regards a category of objects to which the           and the Aircraft Protocol, these depositary functions go
Protocol applies. This means that the only Protocol to       way beyond the normal functions of a Depositary.
the Convention to have been completed to date being
the Aircraft Protocol, the Convention will in all                      Given further the entirely computerized nature
likelihood enter into force effectively upon the entry       of the future International Registry, time would be very
into force of the Aircraft Protocol. Whereas the             much of the essence in UNIDROIT’s communications
Convention entered into force following deposit of the       to the International Registry if the Registry, and
third instrument of ratification, the Aircraft Protocol is   therefore the Convention as applied to its aircraft
set to enter into force following deposit of the eighth      objects are to work effectively.
instrument of ratificational accession. The same States
that have already become Contracting States to the
         Turning now to the preliminary draft Space                  And secondly, the introduction of a limitation
Protocol, as announced by the Chairman, our first            on the exercise of remedies under certain
session of governmental experts met in Rome last             circumstances in relation to public services.
December to review the preliminary draft Protocol
prepared by a Space Working Group, convened at the                    Of particular interest to the Legal
request of the President of UNIDROIT, by Mr. Nesgos,         Subcommittee, in view of the fact this is one of the two
a well-known expert in the field of satellite financing.     questions on its agenda here, will be the introduction
                                                             by the Committee of Governmental Experts of a new
         Professor Marchisio, the Head of the Italian        provision, referred to by the representative of the
delegation and the new Chairman of the Legal                 United States of America, providing the Convention as
Subcommittee, was elected Chairman of the                    applied to space assets does not affect States Parties
Committee of Governmental Experts and I would                rights and obligations under the existing United
submit that it would be hard to imagine a more               Nations outer space treaties or instruments of the
reassuring guarantee of the most complete coordination       International Telecommunication Union.
and cooperation between the two bodies presided over
by Professor Marchisio.                                               The next session of the Committee of
                                                             Governmental Experts will be held in Rome on 25-29
          The level of discussion at the first session was   October. Invitations will be going out to all Member
extremely high. The session permitted a first reading        States of both UNIDROIT and COPUOS, as was the
of the entire text of the substantive provisions of the      case with the first session of the Committee.
preliminary draft Protocol and there was, moreover,
time for most of the changes agreed by the Committee                  In the meantime, as I announced in the Legal
of Governmental Experts to be implemented by the             Subcommittee last year, we have been busy organizing
Drafting Committee during the session. The text of the       colloquia designed to provide fora where
preliminary draft Space Protocol that you have before        representatives of government and industry can get
you is, indeed, the text as it emerged from the session.     together to _________ (inaudible) critically the
                                                             objectives pursued by the preliminary draft Protocol.
          I do not think you would want me to go into        The idea behind these colloquia was to assist the
too much detail with the issues discussed in Rome.           intergovernmental consultation process by providing
Perhaps though I might be permitted to touch briefly         the governments involved with an opportunity to get to
on the principle innovations made. These mainly              know the preliminary draft Protocol and its commercial
concerned, on the one hand, the sphere of application        objectives better, in particular so as to ensure that we
provisions of the preliminary draft Protocol, and on the     come out of the intergovernmental consultation process
other, the provisions dealing with default remedies.         with an instrument that is commercially viable. So far,
                                                             we have held one such colloquium, organized for the
         The main change to the sphere of application        countries of the Western Hemisphere, held last
provisions involve the replacement of the term               September in Paris at the kind invitation of the
“associated rights” already a term employed in the           Director-General of the European Space Agency. A
Cape Town Convention itself by two new terms,                follow-up colloquium this time for the countries of
“debtors rights” and “related rights”. This change was       Asia and the Asia-Pacific Region is to be held in Kuala
absolutely necessary, given the different meanings           Lumpur on 22 and 23 April 2004. This colloquium is
given to the term “associated rights” in the two             being held in Kuala Lumpur at the kind invitation of
instruments”. The Space Working Group put forward            Professor Mazlan Othman, the former Director of the
a detailed set of proposals dealing with the application     United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and
of the Convention and the preliminary draft Protocol to      currently Director-General of the Malaysian National
both “debtors rights” and “related rights”. These            Space Agency.
important proposals will be discussed at the next
session of the Committee of Governmental Experts.                      The discussions in Paris proved extremely
                                                             useful in preparing the ground to be covered at the first
         The two principle changes relate to the             session of governmental experts. To give but one
provisions of the preliminary draft Protocol concerning      example, the need to replace the term “associated
default remedies, concerned first the provision of a         rights” by the two new terms “debtors rights” and
new remedy, replacing of data and materials with             “related rights” that I referred to earlier, came to light
another person in order to afford the creditor the           in Paris.
opportunity to take possession of, established control
over or operate the space assets.                                    We may, therefore, expect the colloquium in
                                                             Kuala Lumpur to prove equally useful in preparing the
ground to be covered at the second session of                         As of today, the matter has thus been
Governmental Experts.                                        considered by the Advisory Committee of the
                                                             International Mobile Satellite Organization and is
         It would surely be particularly helpful for the     under consideration within the Legal Affairs Unit of
countries of Asia and the Asia-Pacific Region that have      the International Telecommunication Union and the
not previously had anything like the same opportunity        International Relations Committee of the European
as the countries of the Western Hemisphere to become         Space Agency.
acquainted with the preliminary draft Protocol.
                                                                      Having thus brought you more or less up-to-
          Invitations to the Kuala Lumpur colloquium         date with the situation regarding the Convention and
have been addressed to the governments of all Asian          the preliminary draft Space Protocol, permit me to seek
and Asia-Pacific member States of COPUOS. Only a             to respond to the questions put to me by the Legal
small number of these governments have, however, to          Subcommittee through the Chairman of its Working
date responded to our invitation. Speaking, therefore,       Group at last year’s session of the Legal
for UNIDROIT, permit me to address an appeal to the          Subcommittee.
representatives of the Asian and Asia-Pacific
governments of COPUOS gathered here today to press                     You will recall that the Chairman of the
their governments to give urgent consideration to the        Working Group asked UNIDROIT to provide it with
desirability of being appropriately represented at this      additional    information     concerning     first  the
most important event for the countries of Asia and the       acceptability of the United Nations acting as
Asia-Pacific Region, particularly those interested in        Supervisory Authority of the future international
development of commercial space activity.                    registration system under the terms of the Charter of
                                                             the United Nations.           Secondly, the liability
          It was made quite clear to us at last year’s       implications for the United Nations of any decision by
session     of    the    Legal    Subcommittee       that,   it to accept such functions, and thirdly, the manner in
notwithstanding the encouragingly broad measure of           which the start-up funding for the future international
support for the idea of the United Nations acting as         registration system would be provided. Members of
Supervisory Authority for the future international           the Legal Subcommittee will recall that even though
registration system for space assets, still enjoyed within   my reply was not recorded in the report on the last
the Legal Subcommittee. The fact that the wheels of          session, I did take the floor immediately after the
the intergovernmental consultation process are already       invitation addressed to me by the Chairman of the
turning means that we, in the UNIDROIT Secretariat,          Working Group to indicate that whilst I would see no
necessarily also have to start also thinking about           difficulty in my providing such additional information
possible alternative solutions in the event that it is       regarding the start-up funding for the registration
ultimately decided that the United Nations should not        system, it seemed that the United Nations Secretariat
act as Supervisory Authority.                                was in a rather better position than UNIDROIT to
                                                             provide additional information requested concerning
          At this point, permit me, nevertheless, to         the acceptability of the United Nations acting as
reiterate what I said on the occasion of last year’s         Supervisory Authority under the United Nations
session of the Legal Subcommittee, maybe that both           Charter and the liability implications of any such
UNIDROIT and the Space Working Group have long               decision.
tended in principle to believe that the United Nations
would be the most appropriate organization to serve as                I, therefore, suggest that the United Nations
Supervisory Authority of the future international            Office for Outer Space Affairs, in consultation with the
registration system.                                         Office of the Legal Counsel to the United Nations be
                                                             invited to provide the additional information requested
          The point is, though, that as you move             on these two items.
forward to the second session of intergovernmental
experts, the governments involved in the                              I wrote to the Secretariat of the Office for
intergovernmental consultation process have legitimate       Outer Space Affairs immediately after I received the
interest in knowing as soon as possible the identity of      report on the last session asking them to ensure that my
the future Supervisory Authority. And this explains          statement be recorded in the appropriate place so as to
why the UNIDROIT Secretariat has been in touch with          avoid any future unfortunate misunderstandings on the
a number of other intergovernmental organizations            subject.
with a view to ascertaining their possible interest in
being considered for the role of Supervisory Authority.             I do not, therefore, intend to encroach on what
                                                             I see as the competence of the United Nations
Secretariat to provide the additional information             undoubtedly much easier to get agreement between
requested on those two matters.                               parties on the sharing of responsibility, especially
                                                              where money is concerned, and the practical details of
          As regards the start-up funding of the future       this agreement and in particular the financial
international registration system, I would suggest that       implications are spread out in advance, rather than left
some enlightenment may be found in the experience             to be worked out as best as possible afterwards. And
acquired in connection with the establishment of the          this is one of the reasons why it is so important to get
International Registry for Aircraft Objects.                  agreement on the body that is to exercise the functions
                                                              of Supervisory Authority as early as possible in the
         What, first of all, is to be understood by the       intergovernmental consultation process.
notion of start-up funding in the context of the
establishment of the future international registration                 As I have indicated, it was ICAO, having been
system? In the case of the International Registry for         invited by the Diplomatic Conference to act as
Aircraft Objects, the amount of start-up feeding needed       Supervisory Authority for aircraft objects, that
was estimated by ICAO, basically in terms of what             effectively determined the financial parameters of the
would be needed to complete the tendering process             establishment of that system.          The Supervisory
and, thus, in effect, the appointment of the Registrar.       Authority of the future international registration system
On that occasion, ICAO estimated the sum of                   for space assets will thus have a decisive role to play in
US$250,000 would be needed to establish the                   determining the sort of start-up funding that would be
International Registry of Aircraft Objects, a large           required. The earlier the question of the Supervisory
proportion of which would go to ensure a fully                Authority for space assets can, in principle, be
transparent selection process.                                resolved, the earlier governments and the interested
                                                              private parties can, together with that Supervisory
         The Cape Town Diplomatic Conference                  Authority, get to work on the details of how precisely
basically left the matter of how these funds were to be       responsibility for the provision of start-up funding is to
obtained to the States that had participated in the           be apportioned.
Diplomatic Conference and what the relevant
resolution referred to as interested private parties. The               I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, if I have not given
resolution in question, in effect, urged the States           you exactly a clear answer as to how the start-up
participating in the Conference and interested private        funding for the future international registration system
parties and I quote “to make available at the earliest        should be provided. I think, though, that I have
possible date, the necessary start-up funding on a            indicated how an effective system for dealing with the
voluntary basis”. As I have already indicated, this has       problem could be devised. A most important element
fortunately finally yielded the desired results, even if it   of this solution is very much in your hands. Thank you
took rather longer than expected.                             Mr. Chairman.

         Finally, while a certain part of the start-up                  The CHAIRMAN: I thank you very much
funding was contributed by governments, the majority          distinguished representative of UNIDROIT for your
ended up being contributed by the representatives of          comprehensive statement and I thank you also for your
those interested private parties, in the case in point        kind words. I would like to remind all delegations that
members of the Aviation Working Group which brings            the document was circulated last year, that is document
together representatives of the different parties             A/AC.105/C.2/L.238, that contains information about
involved in international aviation finance, namely the        the issues of the legal implications for the United
manufacturers, the airlines and the financiers.               Nations as Supervisory Authority and the question of
                                                              liability of the Supervisory Authority. This is a quite
         What does experience tell us regarding the           complete document and this is why I would ask to put
desirable scenario to be aimed for in the context of the      it for your attention.
future international registration system for space
assets? My personal feeling, and here I am not, of                    Are there any other delegations wishing to
course, speaking either for UNIDROIT or for its               speak on this agenda item at this morning’s session?
Member Governments, is that we need to get
agreement between representatives of government and                    I see the delegation of China.      China, you
industry in advance of the conclusion of the future           have the floor.
Space Protocol. As to, first, the amount of start-up
funding that would be needed, and secondly, how                        Mr. W. QU (China) (interpretation from
responsibility for these funds is to be shared out as         Chinese): Thank you Mr. Chairman. First the Chinese
between governments on the one hand and the                   delegation would like to say that we favourably
interested private parties on the other.          It is       welcome the reconvening of the Working Group to
look at the issue of space assets. With regard to the          in this area and experience of different countries in this
private sector committing more and more of its                 area, whether it be the International Registry Office or
energies to space activity, we believe that it is              the Protocol on Aeronautical Objects. And due to the
necessary for the Legal Subcommittee to examine                nature of the United Nations, we would lean towards a
issues related to their activities.                            designation of the conference of parties of the Protocol
                                                               of the Convention on Mobile Equipment and Materials
         We would also like to thank the representative        as an authority for monitoring this activity. And we
of UNIDROIT for a very detailed presentation on the            could possibly even envisage the United Nations
progress being made on the Protocol on Space Assets.           assuming this role with one condition to be fulfilled
                                                               which is that the United Nations would not be
         The development of this Protocol is an issue          responsible for expenses incurred in this responsibility
which is dear to the Chinese Government’s heart. We            and it would only be limited to overseeing damages
sent a delegation to participate in the first session of the   and interests and liability. Thank you.
Committee of Intergovernmental Experts that was held
in Rome last December and also the meeting held in                      The CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much
Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in March of this year. We             distinguished delegate of China.
have noted that during the Rome session, the
government experts and representatives of different                      And now I have Greece on my list. You have
countries had in-depth discussions on the draft Protocol       the floor.
and reached a preliminary consensus on a number of
provisions. We also noted that some provisions came                     Mr.    V.    CASSAPOGLOU            (Greece)
to the attention of all countries, such as the ties            (interpretation from French):      Thank you Mr.
between the treaties on space law and the Protocol, the        Chairman. I very carefully listened to the comments
notion of space assets and space assets used for the           by our eminent colleague from UNIDROIT and
public good, just to mention a few.                            through you, Mr. Chairman, I would like to express my
                                                               gratitude.
         The representatives of our Government
actively participated in the discussions at these                        I have requested the floor to address two
meetings and formulated comments on a number of                minor issues. They are really questions that I would
issues.                                                        like to ask him through you first.

         China continues, and will continue to examine                   Is there a synopsis or minutes or some sort of
this draft Protocol in depth and it will continue to           summary of what happened at the meeting in Rome
participate in the work to draft it.                           last December? And then I have found a two or three
                                                               page report on the subject but it was not finalized but
          Mr. Chairman, turning now to the items that          in that report, I read that the representative of the
we are currently discussing today, we believe that the         Office for Outer Space Affairs made a formal
financing system as established, or as could be                statement and in the statement he noted that there is an
established by the Protocol, is based on a number of           ongoing agreement with regard to the exercise of
rules based on international private law and trade law.        functions by the United Nations. And I also noticed
And yet, the international space law is of the public          the same idea reflected in the text given to me a month
domain. The two are interrelated. The relations                ago, that is “Highlights 2003” on space law. That, of
governing them are different and thus it would be              course, is drafted by the International Institute for
appropriate to discuss the ties between these two legal        Space Law, if I am not mistaken, but there, once again,
bodies more in depth in terms of the practice of it and        there was reiteration of perhaps not an entirely correct
since the financial systems established by the Protocol        idea. Again, though, it was said that the Working
could play a very positive role in terms of space              Group and Subcommittee are, in the majority,
activities in the context of space law treaties. Given         favourable and yet we have not noted that here and so,
that, we believe that the Protocol should clearly              Mr. Chairman, I was wondering if it is possible to have
stipulate that the Protocol should not call into question      the minutes of the meeting in Rome, that is if they are
the rights and obligations conferred upon States by the        published. And I would further like to know how this
space law treaties, specifically international                 quote appears in the publication “Highlights 2003”,
responsibility assumed by a State with regard to any           which is a published document. It is published by the
space activities undertaken by non-governmental                Office but it is not entirely responsible for the contents
agencies in its territory.                                     of that publication.

         With regard to monitoring activities, we                       Those are two comments I had that I wanted
believe that it would be appropriate to study practices        to bring to your attention and I would like to reserve
the right to return to this subject, that is the statement   serve as Supervisory Authority, no decision had as yet
made by the distinguished representative of                  been taken”. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
UNIDROIT with regard to the United Nations ability
or competence to assume this function. Thank you                      The CHAIRMAN:            Are you satisfied,
very much Sir.                                               distinguished delegate of Greece by this?

          The CHAIRMAN: Thank you distinguished                      Mr. V. CASSAPOGLOU (Greece): Yes
representative of Greece. As far as one of your              thank you. I am completely satisfied. Thank you.
questions is concerned, that is to say the declaration
made by the Office for Outer Space Affairs                            The CHAIRMAN: Are there any other
representative to the Rome first session, I may confirm      delegations wishing to speak on this agenda item?
that this statement was in the sense that the issue of the
appropriateness of the United Nations acting as                        I see the Indian delegation. India, you have
Supervisory Authority is under consideration within          the floor Sir.
the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations and
nothing more. This was the precise statement by the                   Mr. N. SINGH (India): Thank you Mr.
representative of the United Nations Office for Outer        Chairman. Mr. Chairman, like other delegations I note
Space Affairs.                                               that the item we are presently considering, that is the
                                                             Protocol on Space Assets to the Cape Town
          As far as the other point, I think that the        Convention, is a very important topic on our agenda
representative of UNIDROIT can easily answer your            but with the increasing role of private sector
question. May I add that the tendency recognized in          participants in outer space activities, there is a need for
principle that the United Nations could act as               having an instrument to cover the questions of
Supervisory Authority is, in my opinion, the result of       financing and other related issues that arise.
the last session of the Working Group, in the sense that
there was a great majority of States not opposing in                  However, Mr. Chairman, as other delegations
principle this possibility. This was my understanding        have also pointed out, there are certain issues which
and I think that it is the pure truth. Thank you.            this would raise and we agree with them that this
                                                             Protocol should not affect the rights and obligations of
      I give now the floor to the representative of          States under the outer space treaties or have any effect
UNIDROIT.                                                    on the provisions of the agreements of the International
                                                             Telecommunication Union.
          Mr. M. J. STANFORD (International
Institute for the Unification of Private Law): Thank                   Mr. Chairman, my delegation, or my country,
you Mr. Chairman. I would like then just to confirm          has participated in the meeting of the UNIDROIT in
basically what you yourself said in response to the          Rome, held in December 2003, and we will also
question raised by the distinguished representative of       participate in the meeting in Malaysia which is coming
Greece, namely that, but first of all to apologize to the    up. On the question of the United Nations assuming
representative of Greece that there is not a final report    the role as a registry, Mr. Chairman, we agree with
on the session. That, of course, is entirely my fault and    other delegations that the United Nations cannot
mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, but unfortunately I             assume any financial liabilities if it were to assume the
have had rather a lot on my plate in recent months but       responsibilities of the Registrar. And there are other
the report hopefully will be available immediately after     issues also which we need to discuss and consider here
our Governing Council session which takes place in a         before a final view can be taken on this. Thank you
week’s time when I hopefully would have a minute.            Mr. Chairman.
But I may perhaps refer representatives to the draft
report on the plenary session held on 19 December                     The CHAIRMAN: I thank you very much
2003. I think probably the document that Professor           distinguished representative of India.
Cassapoglou is referring to, that is WP.22 and in
paragraph 95 it stated that “the observer from the                   Are there any other delegations wishing to
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs referred       speak on this agenda item at this morning’s session?
to the information provided by Mr. Stanford and added
that the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs                I see none.
had been looking in particular at the question of
possible conflicts between the preliminary draft                      We will, therefore, continue with our
Protocol and the United Nations treaties as well as the      consideration of agenda item 10, Draft Protocol on
question of whether or not the United Nations could          Matters Specific to Space Assets, this afternoon.
Contributions by the Legal Subcommittee to the                      The second bullet point “Increasing the active
Committee Report on the recommendations of                 participation by member States of the Committee”.
UNISPACE III (agenda item 11)
                                                                    And the last bullet point “Increasing the
        Distinguished delegates, I would now like to       participation of entities of the United Nations system”.
continue consideration of agenda item 11,
Contributions by the Legal Subcommittee to the                      I would, of course, very much welcome if
Committee Report on the Recommendations of                 there are any delegations that already now could give
UNISPACE III.                                              their views on these bullet points, on these possible
                                                           elements to be included in Chapter VI of the report of
         Are there any delegations wishing to speak on     UNISPACE III + 5. So if there are any comments right
this agenda item this morning?                             now at this morning’s meeting, I would very much
                                                           welcome that. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.
        I recognize the distinguished delegate of
Greece. Greece, you have the floor.                                 The CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much
                                                           Mr. Chairman of the Working Group on the
         Mr.      V.     CASSAPOGLOU            (Greece)   contributions of this Subcommittee to the report of
(interpretation from French):         Thank you Mr.        UNISPACE III + 5 and I would follow your suggestion
Chairman. Just very briefly then to express our            and ask delegations to have any comments or
appreciation with regard to the progress achieved by       suggestions concerning the non-paper, and particularly
the Working Group on the recommendations with              the three bullet points that are at the end under Chapter
regard to UNISPACE III and we would also like to           VI, Strengthening the Role of the Committee on the
congratulate our colleague, Mr. Hedman from Sweden,        Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Its Subcommittees and
for his very significant contribution in this regard and   Its Secretariat in Promoting the Exploration and
for the support given to Ms. Takemi Chiku from the         Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
Secretariat given to that Chairman. Thank you.
                                                                    I see none.
         The CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much
distinguished delegate of Greece.                                 We will, therefore, continue our consideration
                                                           of agenda item 11, Contributions by the Legal
        Are there any other delegations wishing to         Subcommittee to the Committee Report on the
speak on this agenda item at this morning’s session?       Recommendations of UNISPACE III, this afternoon.

         Sweden? Sweden, you have the floor.                       I would like to thank our colleague from the
                                                           Swedish delegation who did a very good job on this
         Mr. N. HEDMAN (Sweden): Thank you                 item.
very much Mr. Chairman. I will take the floor in my
capacity as Chairman of the Working Group in order to      Practice in registering space objects (agenda item
produce this UNISPACE III + 5 report. And allow me,        12)
Mr. Chairman, first of all, to thank my dear colleague
from Greece for his kind words to me.                              Distinguished delegates, I would now like to
                                                           begin consideration of item 12, Practice in Registering
          Now, Mr. Chairman, last week on Friday, you      Space Objects.
circulated a non-paper on possible draft elements for
the contributions of the Legal Subcommittee to the                   Before we begin our consideration of this
report that we are considering and at the end of that      agenda item, I would like to give the floor to the
page, there is a reference to the draft Chapter VI and a   United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs to make
new section in Chapter VI, The Way Ahead, that             a presentation on the Register of Objects Launched into
would read “C. Strengthening the Role of the               Outer Space, as agreed by the Committee at its forty-
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Its         sixth session.
Subcommittees and the Secretariat in Promoting the
Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space”. And                 If there are no objections, we shall proceed
there are three bullet points and I will read them out.    accordingly.

         The first bullet point “Taking greater                     I see none.
advantage of the mechanism of revised agenda
structure of the Legal Subcommittee”.                               I, therefore, give the floor to the Office for
                                                           their presentation. I give the floor to Ms. Natercia
Rodrigues for the presentation of the Office on the        2003. In addition, two international intergovernmental
Register.                                                  organizations have declared their acceptance of rights
                                                           and obligations to the Convention, namely the
         Ms. N. RODRIGUES (Deputy Secretary,               European Space Agency and the European
Office for Outer Space Affairs): Thank you Mr.             Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological
Chairman, distinguished delegates. The aim of this         Satellites, known as EUMETSAT.
presentation is to give delegates an introductory
overview of the United Nations Register of Objects                   The main function of the United Nations
Launched into Outer Space and the general practices of     Register is to make provision for national registration
Member States and international organizations under        by launching States of objects launched into outer
the Registration Convention.                               space, to serve as a central register of objects launched
                                                           into outer space and to provide for State Parties
         There are, in fact, two separate, yet             additional means and procedures to assist in the
complementary, registers of the objects launched into      identification of space objects.
outer space maintained by the United Nations. The
first Register, you will recall, was established in 1961            I will just go over a few facts about the
in accordance with the General Assembly resolution         information that is contained in the Register.
1721B of 20 December 1961. This Register was
superseded by the Register established in accordance                 In accordance with Article III, the Secretary-
with the Registration Convention which was adopted in      General is required to maintain a register in which
1976. The original Register is still used to disseminate   information, furnished in accordance with Article IV,
information today on space objects from Member             shall be recorded. It also requires that there be full and
States who are not Party to the Registration               open access to the information in this Register. The
Convention. That information is distributed through a      Register was established and is maintained by the
document series, A/AC.105/INF.                             Office for Outer Space Affairs on behalf of the
                                                           Secretary-General.      The first document that we
          To date, nearly 6,200 objects have been          published under the Register is ST/SG.SER.E1, which
registered under the General Assembly resolution           was issued on 14 April 1977 and contains information
1721B. The most recent submission was from the             on space objects launched by the United States of
Philippines in April 2003, registering their Agila-II      America as of 31 December 1976.
communications           satellite   in      document
A/AC.105/INF.409. Other Member States who have                       Since then, almost 450 documents containing
provided information since 1976 include Algeria,           registration data on over 6,750 space objects have been
Brazil, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg and Malaysia.            published. The last document, number 446, was issued
                                                           only a few days ago.
         It is worth noting that some Parties have also
re-submitted their information on space objects to be               As mentioned earlier, the Office also
included on the Register established under the             continues to maintain the Register first published in
Registration Convention.                                   accordance with the General Assembly resolution
                                                           1721B of 20 December 1961. That Register contains
         The presentation we have for you this             information furnished by Member States on a
morning is going to focus primarily on the Register        voluntary basis.
established under the Registration Convention and the
information provided by Member States thereunder.                   All registration information received in
                                                           accordance with the Registration Convention, as well
         The Registration Convention was adopted by        as General Assembly resolution 1721B, is maintained
the United Nations General Assembly on 12 November         by the Office for Outer Space Affairs in printed as well
1974 as General Assembly resolution 3235. It was           as electronic form and is updated on a regular basis.
open for signature on 14 January 1975 and entered into     The total number of space objects in the electronic
force on 15 September 1976.           The Convention       registry at 31 March 2004 is 11,937. This figure
requested the Secretary-General to establish a Register    includes both functional and non-functional objects.
in which information furnished is recorded.                About 5,600 of these objects are still in orbit around
                                                           the Earth and beyond.
          As of 1 January 2004, there have been 45
ratifications and four signatures by Member States.                 In this table, you will find the number of
The most recent ratification was by Greece, as we          space objects that were registered by Parties to the
heard this morning, who deposited an instrument of         Registration Convention. You will find that behind
ratification with the Secretary-General on 27 May          some States’ names you will find the words “voluntary
registration” and this indicates those Member States         or beyond, 55 per cent have been registered in
who are not Party to the Convention but have                 compliance with the Registration Convention. A
nevertheless provided information according with             further 38 per cent have been registered in accordance
resolution 1721B.                                            with the General Assembly resolution 1721B. Roughly
                                                             seven per cent, approximately 390 objects, however,
         The asterisks in the table indicate those States    have not been registered with the United Nations.
that are also providing information on non-functional
objects.                                                              Article IV sets out the actual information to be
                                                             provided by the parties. Paragraph 1, thereof, states
          For your convenience, I will go through the        that the information should be furnished as soon as
articles of the Convention and highlight some practices      practicable. The Convention does not define a time
noted by the Office since the Register was established.      frame for the submission of information.

         Article I provides that space object includes                In general, the time taken for submission of
component parts of a space object as well as its launch      information ranges from weeks after launch to years.
vehicle and parts thereof. As the chart illustrates,         On average, the time taken for registration is roughly
nearly 56 per cent of all objects registered under the       two to three months.
Registration Convention are actually non-functional.
                                                                      Present practice can be categorized in two
         With regard to registration of functional and       ways. One, some parties, especially those who operate
non-functional objects, the Office has noted the             launch vehicles for their own use or for customers,
following. Some States provide information on all            provide information on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis.
space objects including non-functional objects and           Two, other parties provide information on a less
objects that are generated during and after launch. This     frequent basis. This can range from immediately after
includes objects generated through impacts, explosions       the launch to information on all objects launched
and so forth. Other States provide information on            during the previous year.
functional objects and non-functional objects such as
third stages that are produced during or immediately                  In addition, occasionally the United Nations
after launch.      They do, however, not include             has also received information on space objects prior to
information on objects created after the launch phase.       their launch. In these cases, the Office keeps the
Other States provide information on functional objects       information on file and after launch confirms the
only. Generally, most States that have registered            information before issuing a registration document.
objects under the Registration Convention fall in this
group.                                                                In Article IV, paragraph 2, the Registration
                                                             Convention states that the following information
          Article I states that “a State of Registry means   should be provided, namely: the name of the launching
a launching State on whose registry a space object is        State or States; an appropriate designator of the space
carried in accordance with Article II”.                      object or its registration number; the date and territory
                                                             or location of the launch; basic orbital parameters
          Article II provides that “where there are two      including a nodal period, inclination, apogee and
or more launching States in respect of any such space        perigee; as well as the general function of the space
object, they shall jointly determine which one of them       object.
shall register the object”.
                                                                      In addition, Article IV, paragraph 3, requires
        Over the years, the Office has noted that some       that each State of registry to notify the Secretary-
space objects are registered by more than one party.         General of the United Nations, to the greatest extent
                                                             feasible and as soon as practicable, of space objects
        We have just illustrated a few examples. For         concerning which it has previously transmitted
example, the satellite Insat 1A and its launcher rocket,     information and which have been but no longer are in
the space probe ULYSSES and most recently, the               Earth orbit.
meteorological satellite MSG-1.
                                                                      With regard to the appropriate designator, the
          It has also noted that registration of space       Office has noted the following:
objects is sometimes overlooked where more than one
State is involved.                                                    Nearly all parties provide common names for
                                                             their space objects;
        As the pie chart indicates, of all the functional
or formerly functional objects launched into Earth orbit
         Some parties use the COSPAR international           greatest distance of the space object’s orbit from the
designator, an example of which would be 2004-001A,          Earth’s surface; and perigee, the closest distance of the
and this is a designator, for example, for the Brazilian     space object’s orbit to the Earth’s surface.
communications satellite, Estrela do Sul 1. This
designator is nominally assigned by the World Wide                    As this data gives us an idea of the space
Agency on Satellite Information on behalf of the             object’s place or position relative to the Earth, some
Committee on Space Research, COSPAR, and has                 general observations can be made as follows. There
been done so since 1957. The international designator        are no standardized units, and in this sense we refer to
is based on the year of launch, the number of                kilometre, minutes or degrees for reporting the orbital
successful launches and the priority or order of the         parameters. The parameters technically refer to objects
space objects deployed or detected;                          orbiting the Earth, in this case the “gee” in the apogee
                                                             and perigee refer to the Earth. The orbital parameters
         Some parties provide designators based on           do not convey information for objects in geostationary
entries in their national registry. In these cases, the      Earth orbit. Space objects in this orbit, by definition,
common name is also provided;                                have very similar orbital parameters. The unique basic
                                                             parameter for an object in GSO would be its location
         Some parties also use a designator assigned in      relative to the Equator, normally stated as longitude
a catalogue of space objects maintained by the United        degrees East or West.
States of America’s Strategic Command, known as
USSTRATCOM, a catalogue based on observational or                     It is, however, worth noting that in the
radar data formerly maintained by USSPACECOM and             majority of cases, the GSO positions are registered
made available through the NASA Orbital Information          with the International Telecommunication Union and
Group.                                                       are actually in the public domain.

          In some cases, the description of requested                 With regard to the practice of parties in
information is too vague, resulting in different             providing orbital information, it can be broken down as
interpretations. Instances where identification of a         follows. Some States provide the initial orbit, others
space object becomes difficult are a different way of        the intermediate or parking orbit and still others the
spelling and the use of generic names.                       final operational orbit. Data on apogee, perigee are
                                                             usually provided as heights above the Earth surface in
         With relation to date of launch, some parties       kilometres. However, sometimes the distance from the
use Greenwich Mean Time, GMT, also called                    centre of the Earth, which is taken to be 6,378
Universal Time Coordinated, UTC. In other cases,             kilometres, is used. Orbital data is sometimes also
parties use the local time at the place of launch or the     provided on objects beyond Earth’s orbit, such as the
national meridian time, for example, Moscow Time.            interplanetary probes. This information can refer to the
                                                             orbit around a different planet, moon or asteroid. In
         As a result of the different practice with          some cases, the orbit is around the Sun and a different
regard to the time of launch, identifying a space object     type of data is given. Some parties provide the
based solely on the registered date can pose a problem,      location of objects in GSO, others do not.
as the time registered may be out more or less by one
day.                                                                  The information provided on orbital data may,
                                                             therefore, not always reflect a space object’s
          With relation to the territory or location of      operational orbit. For example, objects that are in GSO
launch, the Office has noted that some parties provide       may be registered with a transfer orbit. In addition,
information on the location and territory of launch,         different units are sometimes used for reporting
especially if the object is launched from the territory of   parameters.
another State. In other cases, when a space object is
launched from another State, no information is                        And of the general function of a space object,
provided on the location or territory. However, some         the Office has noted that some parties provide generic
launches outside the territory of the State of registry      functions with minimum information content, while
are not always indicated as such.                            other parties, however, provide detailed information
                                                             including physical descriptions of the object, frequency
          By looking at the basic orbital parameters that    plans used by the space objects, and so forth.
are provided. I will just go through basically the
different parameters there are in the Convention. The                Under Article IV, paragraph 2, the
nodal period which is the time to complete one orbit;        Convention states that “each State of registry may,
inclination, this is the angle made by the objects orbit     from time to time, provide the Secretary-General of the
relative to the Earth’s Equator; the apogee is the
United Nations with additional information concerning      satellites launched from French and non-French launch
a space object carried on its registry”.                   facilities.

         The Office has noted that in the past this                  Presently there are a number of unregistered
Article has been used by parties to provide additional     space objects being operated by intergovernmental
information on space objects in orbit; provide             international organizations.     However, information
information when a satellite ceases to function, as has    pertaining to the operators of those objects is available
been done on occasion by the Czech Republic, India,        through the International Telecommunication Union.
Italy and Sweden; it has also been used to report the
impending re-entry of space objects. Notable instances               Mr. Chairman, finally, just a few conclusions
include the Russian Mir Space Station and the United       of the presentation. The United Nations Register of
States    of   America’s      Compton      Gamma-ray       Objects Launched into Outer Space is the sole source
Observatory.                                               of information provided by governments and
                                                           international organizations on all types of space
       This article has also been used in conjunction      objects. As such, all States and intergovernmental
with nuclear power sources principles to provide           organizations that operate space objects should be
emergency information concerning impending decay.          party to the Convention or declare their acceptance of
                                                           the rights and obligations under the Convention.
          With regard to the re-entry of space objects,    Parties should remember to determine who the State of
this has been a matter that has become of great interest   Registry is when more than one party is involved.
to the public of late. The re-entry of the Mir Space
Station captured worldwide attention, of course.                    The function of the Register would be
Article IV, paragraph 3, requires parties to notify the    enhanced if parties harmonized the information
Secretary-General of the United Nations to the greatest    provided to the Register. For example, the COSPAR
extent feasible as soon as practicable of space objects    International Designator as a means of identifying the
concerning which it has previously transmitted             space object; Greenwich Mean Time for the date of
information and which have been but are no longer in       launch; and kilometres, minutes and degrees as
Earth orbit.                                               standard units for the basic orbital parameters. In
                                                           addition, the final operation orbit of a space object
        In practice, some parties to the Convention        could also be provided.
provide actual date of re-entry on a specific basis.
Other parties provide information on a monthly basis,               We have also noted some additional
for example, an object ceased to exist by the end of the   information that would facilitate the maintenance of
month.                                                     the Register. A lot of this information is already
                                                           available in the public domain and would serve to
         In other cases, however, information on when      make the Register even more effective. For example,
a space object has ceased to orbit the Earth is not        the GSO location; the date of decay and re-entry based
received.                                                  on GMT or UTC; web links to official information on
                                                           the space object; and notification when an object is no
        The lack of information or non-specific dates      longer functional.
of decay sometimes hamper the ability to identify a
space object that has returned to Earth.                            Mr.    Chairman,    this  concludes         my
                                                           presentation. Thank you very much.
         With regard to Article VII, the Convention
provides that international organizations conducting                The CHAIRMAN: I thank you very much
space activities can declare their acceptance of the       Ms. Rodrigues for this comprehensive statement, very
rights and obligations under that Convention. To date,     useful for this presentation, that is an excellent basis
only two intergovernmental organizations have              for our deliberations. I thank also the Office for Outer
declared acceptance of the rights and obligations under    Space Affairs for its work, for the work done.
the Registration Convention, as I mentioned earlier, the
European Space Agency and the EUMETSAT.                              I have now on my list one speaker, the
                                                           delegation of the United States of America. You have
        In    the    case    of    the    European         the floor United States.
Telecommunications       Satellite     Organization,
EUTELSAT, France has agreed that it shall register                  Mr. K. HODGKINS (United States of
EUTELSAT satellites on a temporary basis until such        America): Thank you Mr. Chairman. My delegation is
time as EUTELSAT is fully eligible to register them        pleased to have the opportunity to share with you our
itself.  This arrangement applies to EUTELSAT              views on the question of the practice of States and
international organizations in registering space objects    The Registry is updated quarterly on the basis of
under the Convention on Registration of Objects             information provided by the United States Strategic
Launched into Outer Space. Under this agenda item           Command which maintains a catalogue of all space
during the present session, Member States and               objects. The information on the United States Registry
international organizations will present reports on their   is in turn provided to the United Nations for inclusion
practice in registering space objects and submitting the    in the Register. We include on the United States
required information to the United Nations Office for       Registry all United States government and private
Outer Space Affairs for inclusion on the Register.          functional objects and certain non-functional objects,
                                                            as well as launches of the Space Shuttle. The Registry
         Pursuant to Article III of the United Nations      notes when objects are no longer in orbit.
Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched
into Outer Space, the United Nations established a                   During the past several years, the United
Register to record information on space objects             States has been engaged in a process of upgrading the
launched into Earth orbit or beyond as provided by          United States national Registry of space objects so it is
States. At the time, three reasons were advanced to         accessible via the Internet and can be updated
justify the establishment of a centralized registry:        electronically, to enhance the utility of our national
traffic management; safety; and identification of space     Registry. Today, one is able to access the entire United
objects. Over the years, the Register has served a          States Registry by going to the website
useful function in regard to each of these concerns.        www.usspaceobjectsregistry.state.gov.

          Since the establishment of the Register,                   As part of the updating process, we also
activities in space have dramatically increased and         undertook to clarify the domestic criteria for including
changed in nature to include increasing commercial          objects on the United States Registry. This clarification
activities. While the Registration Convention remains       was intended to ensure that United States owners and
both useful and relevant, it has become increasingly        operators of space objects and non-United States
evident that State and international organization           entities have a clear understanding as to the
practice in recording space objects on the United           circumstances under which space objects are and are
Nations Registry is widely divergent.                       not registered by the United States. Our Registry now
                                                            generally includes all space objects that are owned or
          Last year, the United States and other            operated by United States private or governmental
members of this Subcommittee proposed that the              entities and launched from inside or outside United
Subcommittee add to its agenda new item on the              States territory. In general, the United States will not
practice of States and international organizations in       include on its Registry non-United States payloads that
registering space objects. The United States and other      are launched from United States territory or facilities.
member States stated their view that the Legal              It is our view that such non-United States payloads
Subcommittee could play a useful role in promoting          should be included on the Registry of the State of the
adherence to the Registration Convention with respect       payload’s owner/operator because that State is best
to the registration of space objects. We and others         positioned to exercise continuing supervision. In
proposed, and the Subcommittee adopted, a multi-year        addition, we will continue our practice of including
work plan under which the Subcommittee would                certain non-functional objects on the Registry.
examine State and international organization practice
under the United Nations Convention on the                            Regarding our practice in registering space
Registration of Space Objects with the view to              objects that are owned or operated by United States
identifying common elements. We are now in the first        private entities and launched from United States
year of this work plan and our agenda calls for Member      territory of a United States space object, we note, of
States and international organizations to report on their   course, that such registration does not affect the rights
practice and registering space objects and submitting       or obligations of the United States and the
the information to the Office for Outer Space Affairs.      corresponding government under the Convention on
                                                            International Liability for Damage Caused by Space
         In respect to the United States, over the years    Objects or under the Outer Space Treaty. We note that
we have taken several steps towards implementation of       the Report of the recent United Nations Workshop on
the Registration Convention. First, in accordance with      Space Law in the Republic of Korea confirmed this
Article II of the Convention, the United States             conclusion. Paragraph 43 of that report states “the
established a national registry and notified the United     Workshop noted that a State’s liability did not depend
Nations Secretary-General in a note verbale dated 9         on whether or not that State registered a space object in
February 1977.        That Registry is located and          accordance with the provisions of the Registration
maintained by the Office of Space and Advanced              Convention”.
Technology in the United States Department of State.
          When the Department of State is notified by a      the launching of which were promoted by my country.
United States non-governmental entity that it will be        Moreover, Spain has complied with its obligations
launching a space object from non-United States              reflected in the Convention to adopt the necessary
territory, the United States notifies, through diplomatic    internal measures to fully implement the Convention,
channels, the corresponding government that: the             particularly with regard to the establishment of a
United States has been advised that such a launch will       national registry of objects launched into outer space.
take place; secondly, as this space object is owned or
controlled by a United States private entity and                      The National Spanish Registry was created by
launched from outside the territory of the United            way of Royal Decree on 24 February and published in
States, the United States Department of State will           the Official Legislation of the State as number 278/95
include the space on the United States Registry once it      of 9 March 1995. In keeping with Article 2 of the
has been launched into Earth orbit; third, registration of   Royal Decree, the registration is under the Deputy
the space object shall not affect the rights or              Director-General of Economic Multilateral Affairs and
obligations of the United States and the corresponding       Air, Maritime and Land Cooperation in keeping with
government under the Convention on International             Article 3 of the Royal Decree and provides access to
Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects or              the information contained in the Spanish Registry
under the Outer Space Treaty.                                which is completely open and free.

         In cases where two or more governments                         In keeping with Article 5 of the Royal Decree,
jointly launch one or more space objects, specific           the following should be registered: space objects that
provisions on registration are provided for in the           have been launched from Spain or from Spanish
cooperation agreement.                                       facilities; or those that have been promoted by the
                                                             Spanish State. In the case of the five satellites included
          Mr. Chairman, it is my hope that this              on this list, they were all in the second case, that is,
information regarding United States practice in              launches promoted by Spain except the last case which
registering space objects will prove useful in furthering    is Minisat 01 which, in addition to being a launching
our work and promoting adherence to the Registration         promoted by Spain, was launched from Spanish
Convention. I look forward to hearing other views on         airspace.
this topic. Thank you.
                                                                      In keeping with Article 5 of the Royal Decree
          The CHAIRMAN: I thank you very much                in the event that, in addition to Spain, there are one or
for that informative statement on the United States          more States involved with regard to the State or States
practice in registering space objects.                       of launching in order to register the object, in keeping
                                                             with that established in Article II, paragraph 2, of the
         I have now on my list the distinguished             Convention on the Registry of Objects Launched into
representative of Spain. Spain, you have the floor.          Outer Space of 12 November 1974, we are adhering to
                                                             that as well.
          Mr. J. F. BARRERA LÓPEZ (Spain)
(interpretation from Spanish):      Thank you Mr.                     And in keeping with Article 6 of the Royal
Chairman. My delegation would like to start off by           Decree of the register of each space object should
thanking the delegations last March and would like to        contain the following data: the name of the State or
discuss Spain’s participation.        Solidarity and         States launching; appropriate designation of the space
international cooperation are no doubt vital for             object and its registry number; the territory and place
combating the issues of these days.                          of launching and date; and the following parameters for
                                                             the orbit, nodes, inclination, apogee and perigee; and
         And now, Mr. Chairman, I would like to make         the general function of the space object and purpose
Spain’s statement with regard to registry of space           thereof.
objects.
                                                                       In keeping with the Royal Decree, Article 7,
        Spain adhered on 20 December 1978 to the             the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Spain will promote
Convention on the Registration of Space Objects              formal communications of all data received to the
Launched into Space, adopted by the General                  Secretary-General of the United Nations for inclusion
Assembly of the United Nations by way of resolution          in the Registry in this Organization. Article 7 also
3235 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974.                             establishes that communications regarding or reflecting
                                                             this article will include modifications made to the data
         In keeping with this Convention, Spain has          relative to space objects that are registered, especially
since that time been punctually notifying the Secretary-     any space object which is no longer in orbit around the
General of the United Nations of the five space objects,
Earth. These changes should be also reflected in the         them to develop harmonization and unification of
Registry of the Spanish Registry. Thank you.                 domestic legislation in this area of space activities. We
                                                             think that we should pursue this work. Thank you Sir.
         The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from
Spanish): Thank you to the distinguished delegate of                    The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from
Spain for Spanish practices and the report thereof with      French): Thank you to the distinguished representative
regard to registry of space objects.                         of Greece. I am sure that the issues that you have
                                                             raised will be discussed as very relevant in the context
         (Continued in English) Are there any other          of this item on the agenda.
delegations wishing to take the floor?      Greece?
Greece, you have the floor.                                            (Continued in English) Are there any other
                                                             delegations wishing to take the floor on this agenda
         Mr.     V.    CASSAPOGLOU           (Greece)        item at this morning’s session?
(interpretation from French):       Thank you Mr.
Chairman. Mr. Chairman, first I would like to express                 I see none.
our congratulations and gratitude to the Office for
Outer Space Affairs for all the work done in bringing                 Distinguished delegates, I will now adjourn
us this presentation that was just made. Truly, this         this meeting of the Subcommittee for the first meeting
presentation was very useful.                                of the Working Group on Agenda Item 10, Draft
                                                             Protocol on Matters Specific to Space Assets,
         I have two questions to put to the Office. I        following which the Working Group established by the
think they are important matters and they are directly       Committee to prepare a report on the implementation
related to the future of our work on this item of the        of the recommendations of UNISPACE III for
agenda, that is, should we maintain this item on our         submission to the General Assembly will continue with
agenda on a permanent basis?                                 informal consultations.

          First, there is a matter that needs to be                   Before adjourning, I would like to inform
examined in the future with regard to space objects,         delegates of our schedule of work this afternoon. We
particularly satellites, that are not registered and which   will reconvene here at 3.00 p.m. At that time we will
are not so well-known. I do not want to call them            continue consideration of agenda item 10, Draft
pirate satellites but very recently there were problems,     Protocol on Matters Specific to Space Assets, agenda
significant technical problems, particularly with regard     item 11, Contributions by the Legal Subcommittee to
to the electro-magnetic coordination. When a satellite       the Committee Report on the Recommendations of
takes up a slot of the International Telecommunication       UNISPACE III, and agenda item 12, Practice in
Union but without having notified any one of the space       Registering Space Objects. We will also begin
occupied or the frequency associated with it, it can         consideration of agenda item 13, Proposals to the
create problems. We recently had problems with an            Committee on New Agenda Items.
unknown satellite from a British factory that was
around our orbital position, I think around 40 degrees                Following the Subcommittee plenary, the
to the East on the geo-orbit, and it creates problems for    Working Group on Agenda Item 10, Draft Protocol on
the proper working of our own satellite. There are also      Matters Specific to Space Assets, will hold its second
implications for other satellites, such as those from        meeting, and the Working Group established by the
Turkey and Pakistan, Russian satellites, INTELSAT,           Committee to prepare a report on the implementation
all operating in this very small area of the                 of the recommendations of UNISPACE III for
geostationary orbit. So perhaps at some point in time,       submission to the General Assembly will continue with
we might want to examine this issue and establish            informal consultations.
some kind of international recognition for space
objects, beyond registration so that we can at least                 Are there any questions or comments on this
know what it is. Furthermore, this is a problem that is      proposed schedule?
also very tied to space debris and we truly appreciate
all countries who announce space objects which are not                I see none.
working or non-operation in order to protect outer
space from debris and other associated problems.                      It is so decided.

        Secondly, I think that the purpose of this                    I am now pleased to give the floor to the
Working Group is of great usefulness because it can          Chairman of the Working Group on Agenda Item 10,
help countries to establish national legislation to          Draft Protocol on Matters Specific to Space Assets, for
govern appropriate space activities and it could help
the Working Group’s first meeting. I welcome
Professor Kopal as Chair of this Working Group.

          This meeting is now adjourned until 3.00 p.m.
this afternoon.

           The meeting closed at12.15 p.m.

				
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