ABU DHABI - The UAE will chair the Committee on The Peaceful Uses of Outer Space "COPUOS". With 100 member states, COPOUS is one of the largest UN committees and plays a major role in governing the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity.
Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and Chairwomen of the UAE Space Agency, said, "It’s a great honour for the Emirates to take the chair of COPUOS, particularly as we founded our space programme on international partnerships and collaboration and continue to place these partnerships at the core of our space sector development."
The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was created by the UN General Assembly in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space, and was tasked with reviewing international cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, studying space-related activities, encouraging space research programmes and studying and recommending policy and the legal infrastructure supporting space exploration.
"This is a huge honour and a tremendous chance to serve the global space sector. As both a young nation and a relatively new entrant to the space sector, we have benefited from the amazing work of the pioneers who have gone before us. Alongside that heritage, we have also found scope to innovate and challenge what have become accepted norms and we look forward to bringing a spirit of open dialogue and co-operation, but also seeking to define solutions and new ways of looking at some of the emerging challenges and opportunities facing our sector and, indeed humanity."
Instrumental in the definition and creation of the five treaties and five principles of outer space, the Committee has two subsidiary bodies: the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, and the Legal Subcommittee, both established in 1961.
The Committee is part of The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), and reports to the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly, which adopts an annual resolution on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
Omran Sharaf, who will now chair COPUOS for a period of two years (2022-2023), serves as the project director of the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, UAE. Sharaf was the first Emirati engineer to travel to Korea in the country’s technology transfer programme, which saw him working on the development of the DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2 remote sensing satellites. During his time in Korea, Sharaf gained his Master's in Science and Technology Policy from the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), South Korea, in 2013.
In 2014, he was tasked with the development of the Emirates Mars Mission and its Hope Probe, currently orbiting Mars and researching the planets atmospheric dynamics. He has previously represented the UAE at COPUOS, the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG) and led the Emirates’ participation in joint studies of emerging space programmes at NATO.