Italy fully aligns itself with the statement of the distinguished representative of the European Union. I would like to add some remarks in my national capacity.
Conscious of the increasing reliance of the human endeavour on the use of outer space, we place utmost importance in ensuring that, in the interest of all, outer space continues to be used peacefully, and in addressing potential escalation dynamics and the security risks that these might entail. We feel a sense of urgency in this respect.
While space capabilities are critical not only to the economy, but also to national security, the main challenge, today, is the growing spectrum of threats against space objects. Italy notes that threats to the space environment will also increase as more nations and non-state actors develop and deploy counter-space systems, such as jamming, ground site attackers, laser, kinetic energy attacks, direct ascent anti-satellite technologies, orbital ASATS.
Italy believes that a first step towards achieving more safety and security in outer space activities, as well as their sustainability, is the adoption and implementation of TCBMs. For this reason, we support the concrete implementation of the 2013 Report of the GGE on TCBMs in Outer Space Activities, aimed at reducing the risks of misunderstandings and miscommunication, as well as helping ensure strategic stability. Such voluntary measures, complementary to the existing international framework, would benefit and preserve the use of outer space, particularly in the interest of emerging space actors.
The consensus in the GGE sent indeed a strong message: States must remain committed to enhance the welfare of humankind by cooperating with others to maintain the long-term sustainability, safety and security of the space environment.
In this context, our attention has primarily focused on the EU-led proposal for an International Code of Conduct (ICoC).
The Code should be a pragmatic instrument, based on a preventive approach, to foster international cooperation in outer space in order to enhance its safety, security and sustainability, to the benefit of both spacefaring and non-spacefaring countries.
It should be comprehensive in its scope, taking into account that peaceful activities in outer space, by their very nature, could serve both civilian and military purposes.
We also believe that its implementation can provide the momentum for the creation of reinforced legal frameworks in the longer term, paving the way for more stringent and legally-binding rules.
For these reasons, we regret that the 109 states represented in New York last July could not start negotiating the draft Code. At the same time, we highly value the useful elements derived from the debate, and we are confident that these will foster further positive developments.
We are aware that voluntary code of conduct cannot provide the solution for all open issues regarding outer space. Therefore, we welcome and will continue to be engaged in all efforts to produce arms control or other specific measures aimed at preventing an arms race in outer space, particularly in the framework of the Conference on Disarmament.
Thank you, Mr Chair