World Space Week is the largest annual space event in the world. the weeks help build up the workforce of tomorrow by inspiring students; demonstrating visible public support for the space program; educating the public about space activities, and fostering international cooperation in space outreach and education.
Each year a theme is selected by the World Space Week Association Board of Directors in close coordination with the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs. The theme provides broad guidance to World Space Week participants on the content of their programs. The theme is selected to increase the impact of World Space Week on all humanity further, by using a uniform theme globally.
The World Space Week 2022 theme is “Space and Sustainability” focusing on achieving sustainability in space and achieving sustainability from space. The theme is inspired by how sustainability in space relates to how humanity uses space, most pressingly, the orbital area surrounding Earth.
Space exploration and remote Earth observation can help drive change for our home planet. This includes measuring climate change, identifying pollution on land and at sea, and supporting agriculture in developing nations.
Of the 169 targets that form the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, 65 directly benefit through Earth observation satellites and related technologies. Achieving the SDGs would be so much harder without the tools and techniques available to scientists through space exploration.
On 4 October 1957, the launch into outer space of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, opened the way for space exploration. A decade later, on 10 October 1967, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies entered into force.
Space science and technology and their applications are increasingly being used to support a wide range of United Nations activities. At least 25 United Nations entities and the World Bank Group routinely use space applications. They make important and sometimes essential contributions to the work of the United Nations, including in the implementation of recommendations of major world conferences and those of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), as well as support towards sustainable development.
As a consequence, coordination, cooperation, and synergy are essential for those activities to be effectively carried out by the United Nations system. The annual sessions of the Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities are the main means of achieving that synergy. The effectiveness of the Meeting has been further enhanced by the holding, since 2004, of an open information session immediately after the end of the Meeting, as a means of engaging Member States, in a direct and informal setting, in important space-related developments in the United Nations system. The agenda of the Inter-Agency Meeting is reviewed at each session and adapted to current operational needs.
From the very beginning of the Space Age, the United Nations recognized that outer space added a new dimension to humanity’s existence. The United Nations family strives continuously to utilize the unique benefits of outer space for the betterment of all humankind.
Recognizing the common interest of humankind in outer space and seeking to answer questions on how outer space can help benefit the people of Earth, the General Assembly adopted its first resolution related to outer space, resolution 1348 (XIII) entitled “Question of the Peaceful Use of Outer Space”.
On 10 October 1967, the “Magna Carta of Space”, also known as the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies entered into force.
Today, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is the United Nations office responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. UNOOSA serves as the secretariat for the General Assembly’s only committee dealing exclusively with international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space: the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space(COPUOS).
UNOOSA is also responsible for implementing the Secretary-General’s responsibilities under international space law and maintaining the United Nations Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space.