United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

Mandate of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications

In its resolution 2601 A (XXIV) of 16 December 1968 the General Assembly endorsed "the recommendation of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space for the appointment by the Secretary-General of a qualified individual with the full-time task of promoting the practical applications of space technology". Initial activities in what was later to be called the "United Nations Programme on Space Applications" commenced in May 1971 with an expert meeting of the United Nations Panel on Remote Sensing Systems for Earth Resource Surveys.

Following the Second United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE'82), the General Assembly in its resolution 27/90 of 10 December 1982 gave the the following mandate for implementing the Programme to the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA):

  • Promotion of greater cooperation and exchange of actual experiences in space science and technology between industrialized and developing countries as well as among developing countries;
  • Development of a fellowship programme for in-depth training of scientists, technologists and applications specialists, with the help of Member States and relevant international organizations, and establishment and regular updating of lists containing available fellowships in all States and relevant international organizations;
  • Organization of seminars on advanced space applications and new system developments for managers and leaders of space applications and technology development activities as well as seminars for users in specific applications; 
  • Stimulation of the growth of indigenous nuclei and an autonomous technological base, to the extent possible, in space technology in developing countries with the cooperation of other United Nations agencies and/or Member States or members of the specialized agencies;
  • Dissemination of information on new and advanced technologies and applications, with emphasis on their relevance and implications for developing countries; and
  • Provision of technical advisory services on space applications projects, upon request by Member States or any of the specialized agencies.

The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 54/68 of 6 December 1999 requested, on the basis of UNISPACE III recommendations, the further strengthening the activities of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications to include the following:   

  • Facilitating and supporting the development and implementation of space-related projects that address the operational needs of Member States;
  • Providing support to the regional centres for space science and technology education affiliated with the United Nations, including the Network of Space Science and Technology Education and Research Institutions of Central-Eastern and South-Eastern Europe;
  • Reorienting the long-term fellowship programme;
  • Organizing workshops and conferences on advanced space applications and new system developments for programme managers and leaders of space technology development and applications activities;
  • Organizing medium-term courses on remote-sensing education for university educators and on telecommunications and tele-health for professionals;
  • Providing technical advisory services to Member States, on request, on different aspects of space science and technology and related applications;
  • Promoting cooperation in space applications projects between government establishments, universities and research institutions and private industry;
  • Organizing an annual public forum to inform the general public of past, ongoing and planned space activities and the future direction of such activities;
  • Promoting activities for youth, so as to encourage interest among students and young scientists and engineers;
  • Promoting cooperation in the development of educational programmes in space science and technology for primary and secondary school curricula;
  • Establishing a programme of visits by astronauts, cosmonauts and other space scientists and engineers to increase knowledge about space-related activities, in particular among young people;
  • Promoting the participation of scientists from developing countries in space science and planetary exploration; and
  • Initiating programmes to promote the use of satellite communications and Earth observation data for disaster management and to provide opportunities for professionals to put into practice the knowledge that they have acquired through training courses.
This page was last updated on 9 April 2014.
Copyright©2014 UNOOSA, All Rights Reserved, Terms of use