STATEMENT OF THE HOLY SEE TO THE U.N.
AT THE UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL POLITICAL AND DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE, AGENDA
"INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN THE PEACEFUL USES OF OUTER SPACE"
H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Friday, 17 October 2014
As this is the first time my delegation intervenes in this Committee during
the current session, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you
and the Bureau on your election and to assure you of my delegation’s support and
Since the earliest days of human history, humanity has looked to the sky with
wonder, longing to understand celestial realities and their meaning in relation
to humanity itself. Because of the fundamental questions it has always raised,
the exploration of the universe has also deepened the understanding of faith and
its rapport with science. The Holy See believes that faith is capable of both
expanding and enriching the horizons of reason; thus, it rejoices in the
marvelous progress of science, seeing it both as a product of the enormous
God-given potential of the human mind and as manifestation of the vastness and
richness of creation.
Our responsibility is to ensure that the fruits of these advances also
benefit the poor around the world. My delegation is fully aware of the
constraints to a universal access to the beneficial uses of outer space,
considering the huge investments put into explorations and questions related to
intellectual property, patents, etc. However, in a time when outer space has
become a huge economic asset and hosts information and communications
technologies, States must work together to ensure that these benefits do not
become yet another cause of increasing economic and social inequalities, but
rather a shared resource for the common good of the entire global community.
Vital to promoting this common good is ensuring the peaceful use of outer
space. To this end, the ongoing discussion on the development of an
International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities represents a positive
step toward furthering a fairer and safer use of outer space. It would
undoubtedly help toward preventing an arms race in outer space and, consequently,
toward averting a new, grave threat to international peace and security.
My delegation cannot underline enough the use of outer space toward an ever
greater understanding of our planet. Satellites monitor the health of oceans and
forests. They provide data on water cycles, climate patterns and other
atmospheric phenomena. We trust that this knowledge can convince us to change
lifestyles and practices detrimental to our environment. If we do not work
together, there will be no winners, only losers.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, the Holy See wishes to highlight the use of satellites
in the diffusion of knowledge and the elimination of illiteracy. Indeed,
satellites can reach not only those places where illiteracy is a thing of the
past, but also those where many still cannot read or write, especially in
far-flung areas. However, care must be taken that this outer space technology
does not become an instrument of dominion and a vehicle to impose certain
cultures and values on others.
Space environment should be preserved as the common heritage of humanity. It
is the Holy See’s belief that we are only its temporary stewards, with the
unwritten but morally compelling responsibility to preserve it for future
Thank you Mr. Chairman.