The Great Space (Debris) Debate

In the exciting world of space garbage, the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) has been engaged in intense debate regarding the control and mitigation of so called “space debris”. Delegates have discussed how to remove space debris and fund space programs in depth because they fear the threat to operatives satellites. The committee moved quickly through the process of forming blocs and writing draft resolutions, presenting 6 comprehensive solutions to solving the problem involving space debris. Delegates discussed all resolutions at length through question and answer periods with the intention of merging similar draft resolutions. While not final, it is expected that the “Orange”, “Yellow”, and “Blue” resolutions will merge to form one resolution that will encompass the needs of a variety of countries and provide effective solutions to the multitude of presented problems. Additional draft resolutions “Red”, “Purple”, “Black”, and “Green” were still discussing the most effective way to merge or if they would merge at all.

A delegate from the Democratic Republic of Congo pointed out that the primary points of difference and controversy concerned “balancing the needs of developing nations with those of developed nations”, especially when it came to funding. With the removal of space debris expected to be very expensive, the debate remains as to whether countries should pay to fund space debris removal regardless of their size and extent of development or if more developed nations with more extensive space programs should pay a larger share of the money needed.

With such extensive resolutions, the process of merging these papers will prove to be just as much of a challenge as creating the original resolutions. “We all have such complicated resolutions that it’s difficult to find a way of include everyone’s voices” cited a delegate of France, also referencing the increased difficulty of adapting to the needs of both small and large countries. Many delegates noted the universal consequences and dangers of space debris and cited that as a reason for all countries, regardless of size or level of development, to contribute to the removal projects. Other delegates advocated for the fact that these more advanced countries with larger and more heavily funded space programs put in a much higher number of satellites that eventually become space debris when they are abandoned or when they become nonfunctional. Delegates also worked and argued for the advancement of all space programs: especially those that are undeveloped compared to space powerhouses like the US and Brazil. These desires to encourage space advancement in underdeveloped countries were integrated into the funding debate with potential incentives and rewards offered to smaller programs who contribute money or resources (including labor contributions) to the project of debris removal in the form of aid in developing their respective space programs.

With focused delegates eager to find a solution that works for all represented countries at the UN, and equally as eager to address their topic A regarding space “Security and Weaponism”, it is expected that delegates will work with diligence to finalize their draft resolutions and submit them for voting in the near future.


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