The exploration of space has always been a central aspiration of human beings across the globe. Indeed, while the vastness of the universe may humble us, it also provides infinite stimulus for human curiosity.|
Humankind has made important strides in the peaceful exploration of outer space, and this has changed our lives here on Earth for the better. Not only have we gained scientific knowledge, but we have also learnt to look at our planet from a new perspective. When one of the early missions produced the first photographs of the Earth taken from space, it revealed a planet without national borders, a fragile orb dependent on a delicate web of resources and ecosystems, a single sphere that is the common home for all of humanity.
Space technology, for its part, has yielded a number of "spin-off" benefits that have tangibly improved our daily lives and that are helping us to address a range of daunting social and economic challenges, including poverty eradication, environmental
protection and disaster prediction. Earth observation satellites, for example, have been used successfully in Africa, Asia and Latin America to detect the risk of outbreaks of malaria and other infectious diseases. Satellite communications are being used in several developing nations to provide health services and "distance
learning" to rural communities, and to relay information for the management of land, ocean and freshwater resources. Such applications represent the mere tip of the technological iceberg.
The United Nations is deeply committed to the peaceful exploration of outer space--as a way to build bridges among peoples and nations, and as an integral part of our work to achieve the objectives set out at major world conferences of the past decade, including the Millennium Development Goals. The Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, known as the UNISPACE III, has developed a strategy for harnessing the benefits of space science and technology to this effort. I hope all people and all partners will join the United Nations in the quest, and do their part in creating a more equitable and sustainable future of all people on Earth.