United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

United Nations/International Institute of Air and Space Law Workshop 

United Nations/International Institute of Air and Space Law Workshop on
Capacity Building in Space Law

The Hague, Netherlands, 18-21 November 2002

Hosted by the Government of the Netherlands


Available online resources:


1. Background

A continuous increase in space activities and participation in space activities means that space laws, policies and institutions are becoming a priority for a greater number of countries worldwide. It has also highlighted the need for the ratification and effective implementation of the five United Nations Treaties on Outer Space.

The Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) called for action to promote the development of space law to meet the needs of the international community. The Conference emphasized the importance of the United Nations treaties on outer space and invited States that had not yet done so to ratify or accede to the treaties.

A recent review by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its Legal Subcommittee has revealed that one of the likely reasons for the low level of ratification of some of the treaties is a lack of awareness of the benefits of adherence to the Outer Space treaties. In addition, the actual adherence in practice by some States to the provisions of the Outer Space treaties, to which they are parties, and their implementation at a domestic level has also been found to be in need of improvement.

The need for effective laws and policies on space activities, not just on an international level but also on the national level, is becoming clear to the increasing number of States now actively involved in the field of space. The successful operation of space law, policies and institutions in a country relies on the presence of suitable professionals. Therefore, educational opportunities and institutions that address the subject of space law and policy are also important.

Finally, the Action Plan of the United Nations Strategy for an Era of Application of International Law calls on every office, department, programme, fund and agency of the United Nations, to "review its current activities and consider what else it might do, within its existing mandate and given existing resources, to promote the application of international law, and to provide technical assistance to help Governments implement their commitments under the treaties to which they are or might wish to become parties."

The Workshop, which will be the first United Nations Workshop on space law, will provide an overview of the United Nations treaties and principles on outer space, will examine and compare various aspects of existing national space laws and will consider the development of university level studies/programmes in space law. This multi-levelled approach to capacity building in space law seeks to increase knowledge and awareness of the international treaties and principles developed under the auspices of the United Nations relating to space activities and to provide a basis for their implementation on a practical level through the development and administration of domestic legislation and regulatory regimes.


2. Objectives and Expected Results

The objectives of the Workshop are:

   (a)   to promote understanding, acceptance and implementation of the United Nations treaties and principles on outer space;

   (b)   to promote exchange of information on domestic space laws and policies, for the benefit of professionals involved in the development and implementation of those policies; and

   (c)   consider development of university level studies and programmes in space law, with a view to promoting national expertise and capability in this field.

The Workshop will identify suitable approaches and possible priority areas for different countries, sources of technical assistance for developing countries and identify means of generating the interest of high-level policy makers.

The Workshop will also be oriented to examine regional priorities for capacity building in space law. Presentations will be made on the situation in the participants´┐Ż countries with a view to devising strategies for encouraging high-level policy makers to set the process of the ratification of the Outer Space treaties into motion and to identify priority areas for national space law and education in space law.


3. Preliminary Programme of the Workshop

The Workshop, which will consist of presentations and round table discussions, will consider the following:

   (a)   The United Nations treaties on outer space;

   (b)   National space laws and policies, including an examination and comparison of existing national legislation on outer space; and

   (b)   Educational programmes in space law.

A detailed draft programme will be made available on the Web sites of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs at http://www.oosa.unvienna.org/SAP/act2002/spacelaw/index.html and the International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL) at http://www.leidenuniv.nl/law/air&space/.


4. Sponsorship of the Workshop

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the International Institute of Air and Space Law are responsible for co-organizing and promoting the Workshop. The Government of the Netherlands is hosting the Workshop, which will be held at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bezuidenhoutseweg 67, Conference Room 01D19 (Van Kleffenszaal), The Hague, Netherlands.


5. Qualifications for participation and selection of participants

Participants should preferably have managerial or decision making responsibilities and should come from:

   i) Governmental agencies, national legislative bodies and institutions or private industry from industrialized and developing countries involved in developing national space laws, establishing space institutions and defining national space policies, as well as Government representatives that are or might potentially be responsible for implementing national space laws;

   ii) National and regional higher education institutions with programmes focusing in the fields of space science and technology and/or law, particularly international law.

Applications from interested female participants are encouraged.

Participants will be selected jointly by the sponsors of the Workshop from applications submitted to the United Nations. All applicants will be informed on the outcome of the selection process.


6. Sponsorship of participants from developing countries

The co-sponsors have a limited amount of financial resources available to sponsor travel and living costs of selected participants from developing countries or countries with economies in transition.


7. Language of the Workshop

Applicants must have a good knowledge of English, which will be the working language of the Workshop.


8. Deadline for submission of applications

The completed Application Form (endorsed by the applicant's agency/organization) should be submitted through the Office of the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in the applicant's country, to the:

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs
Vienna International Centre
P.O. Box 500
A-1400 Vienna

no later than 30 August 2002 and a copy thereof directly to the Office for Outer Space Affairs by telefax to +43-1-26060-5830.


9. Additional Information

For more information on the Workshop please refer to the homepage of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs at http://www.oosa.unvienna.org/SAP/act2002/spacelaw/index.html or the International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL) at http://www.leidenuniv.nl/law/air&space/.









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