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on 23 June 2003

For the first time since the establishment of COPUOS, Romania will have the Scientific and Technical Sub-Committee's Presidency between 2004-2006, through Mr. Dumitru Dorin Prunariu, President of the  Romanian Space Agency.

Between 11-20 June 2003 there were held in Vienna the works of the 46th session of COPUOS. It was the last session chaired by Raimundo Gonzalez (Chile) and first attended, as the new director of the Office for Outer Space Problems (OOSA), by Sergio Camacho.

At this session participated representatives of 53 member states of the Committee, six observer states and other specialized agencies of the United Nations system, and governmental and non-governmental organizations. The Romanian delegation, headed by turn by Mr. Marius-Ioan Piso, CEO of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) and Mr. Dorin-Dumitru Prunariu, ROSA President, presented in a first intervention in the plenary work the steps taken at a national and regional level in order to to establish the Network of Centers of Research and Education in Space Science and Spacec Technology for Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. There were mentioned the academic training course available to the network since November 2002 and the software (developed mostly by ROSA experts) for distance education. The other interventions presented, broadly, the national aerospace programme and the results achieved in recent international collaborations, in particular with the European Space Agency, NASA and the French Space Agency. They were especially science and some joint projects related to space applications directly in agriculture, telemedicine and satellite monitoring techniques, positioning and navigation. It was emphasized Romania's cooperation with developing countries with little experience in the field, especially Azerbaijan and Angola.

Following informal discussions held with OOSA leadership has resulted a positive feedback on the position of Romania - country which cooperates at a highly technical and scientific level with world space powers and also develops space projects in partnership with developing countries.

New points on the agendas of COPUOS and the sub-committees will be:

a. "telemedicine through space technology" for the Scientific and Technical Sub-Committee (ScST) between 2004-2006;

b. "the practice of states and international organizations in registering space objects", for the Law Sub-Committee (ScJ), between 2004-2006;

c. "Space and education", for COPUOS, between 2004-2006.

Choosing the COPUOS office for the next two years has been a point of interest on the agenda of the current session. Although negotiations began well before the session, the decision was taken by consensus only at the end.

According to the Austrian scheme, the first one since the establishment of COPUOS, which reflects exactly equal representation of all geographical groups principle and the coordination by rotation of the functions, the office will have the following structure for the next two years:

Chairman of COPUOS: Adigun Ade Abiodun (Nigeria)
Senior vice-president of COPUOS: Ciro Arevalo Yepes (Colombia),
The second vice-president / rapporteur COPUOS: Parviz Tarikh (Iran)
Chairman of the Scientific and Technical Sub-committee: Dumitru Dorin Prunariu (Romania)
Legal Sub-committee's Chairman: Sergio Marchisio (Italy).

For Romania, obtaining this function was possible because of:

  • consistent participation by representatives of ROSA, at the COPUOS and sub-committees activities;
  • rapidly evolving of the research and space applications in Romania in recent years, especially due to programme coordinated by ROSA;
  • balanced international cooperation in space policy, by developing common projects especially with the European Space Agency, but also with the European Commission, the USA - NASA, Russia and third world countries.
  • the successfully organization (jointly by OOSA and ROSA) of UNISPACE III Preparatory Regional Conference for Eastern Europe (Bucharest, February 1999) and a regional seminar on the use of space technologies for disaster prevention (Poiana Brasov, May 2003);
  • Mr. Dumitru Dorin personality Prunariu appreciated by both space powers (USA and Russia).

It should be noted that, to date, the sub-committee's chairmanship was held only by representatives of developed countries. ScST presidency being hold by Romania involves the initiation of negotiations for the elaboration of a set of measures for the involvment in COPUOS activities.

During the first session led by the representative of Romania there will be completed the report on implementation of the UNISPACE III recommendations, five years after their establishment. Also, during the Romanian mandate there will be developed new action directions of COPUOS for the next 10-15 years, with particular importance in the current context of space technology involvement in global security. The exercise of this function can be an action which, well managed, will substantially contribute to the integration of Romania into the community of developing space programs.