United Nations Conference on Space Law and Policy:

Emerging Issues in Space Law and Policy - Perspectives for African Nations  

Organized in Cooperation with the Economic Commission for Africa 

Virtual Conference

8-10 December 2020

Updates: 

  • Update : Registration page open - Please register by Thursday, 3 December 2020, click here!

Introduction

The Office for Outer Space Affairs has been organizing a long-standing series of capacity-building workshops on space law and policy where 10 workshops have been successfully held since 2002 in cooperation with the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Brazil, Nigeria, Ukraine, Islamic Republic of Iran, Thailand, Argentina, China, and at the UN premises in Vienna. 

Building upon this series of workshops, in 2018 the Office moved on to a new phase in its capacity-building efforts, by a new series of dedicated United Nations Conferences on Space Law and Policy. The first Conference co-organized by the Government of the Russian Federation was held in Moscow, Russian Federation, on 11-13 September 2018. In 2019, a second Conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 23 to 26 September and was organized together with the Government of Turkey, TUBITAK Space Technologies Research Institute (TUBITAK UZAY), Turkish Space Agency, and the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO).

This year, for 2020, the Office will organize the Space Law Conference in cooperation with the Economic Commission for Africa from 8-10 December 2020 as a virtual event.

International and regional cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space helps to bring the benefits of space technology applications to a wide circle of stakeholders, both governmental and non-governmental, and to intensify and diversify national space programmes. Policy and regulatory frameworks at the national, regional and international levels are of paramount importance for providing the necessary basis for States, particularly developing countries, to meet development goals and address challenges to sustainable development. In this connection, it is necessary to continue to strengthen the linkages between international space law and the conduct of space activities. 

Each year, in its resolutions on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, the General Assembly reaffirms the importance of international cooperation in developing the rule of international law, including the relevant norms of international space law and their important role in international cooperation for the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and of the widest possible adherence to international treaties that promote the peaceful uses of outer space in order to meet emerging new challenges, especially for developing countries. The Assembly recognizes that all States, in particular those with major space capabilities, should contribute actively to the prevention of an arms race in outer space with a view to promoting and strengthening international cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

In today's world, where the number of actors that engage in space activities increases every day, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that all actors comply with the requirements of international space law in developing international and regional space cooperation.

The successful implementation and application of the international legal framework governing space activities depend on the understanding and acceptance of that framework by policymakers and decision makers. The availability of professionals who can provide suitable legal advice and disseminate information and knowledge about space law, in particular in developing countries, depends on the availability of adequate education opportunities in space law and policy.

This Conference will be held in order to promote adherence to the five United Nations treaties on outer space and to assist States in building their capacity in space law, and thus help them to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The Conference will be preceded by a half-day Introductory Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) of Space Law for New Space Actors project to support the development of national space legislation for new space actors in the African region. It is expected that the participants to the TAM will also attend the Conference to and benefit from this expanded capacity building opportunity.

Conference Objectives

The objectives of the Conference will be to: 

  1. Promote understanding, acceptance and implementation of the United Nations treaties and principles on outer space;
  2. Promote exchange of information on national space legislation and policies for the benefit of professionals involved in national space activities;
  3. Consider the contribution of space law to economic and social development, and the use of space-derived geospatial data for sustainable development;
  4. Consider trends in and challenges to international space law;
  5. Consider mechanisms for increasing regional and international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space;
  6. Consider the development of university-level studies and programmes in space law, with a view to promoting national expertise and capacity in this field;
  7. Discuss novel areas in which international space law could provide potential legal models to balance divergent interests of States.

Preliminary Programme

Coming soon! 

The Conference will be structured by discussions in the following topics. In addition, renowned experts in the field will be invited as speakers. The Conference will mainly comprise presentations followed by questions and answers.

 The following topics will be considered in dedicated sessions:

  Promoting responsible, peaceful and safe use of outer space

  • Long-term sustainability of outer space activities
  • Legal regime of outer space and global governance
  • National legal and policy frameworks related to outer space activities
  • Best practices in sharing remote sensing data to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Strengthening capacity-building in space law and policy

 Kindly note that the Conference organizers may modify the number and themes of sessions of the final programme. 

Date 

Dates: The Conference will be held from 8-10 December 2020

Venue: The Conference will take place online via MS Teams

Working Methods

Speakers at the Conference are requested to deliver an oral presentation via WebEx. 

On 4 December 2020 at 14:00 (CET), the presenters will have the opportunity to conduct a test run of their presentations online. 

Presentations made at the Conference will be published on the website of the Office for Outer Space Affairs ( www.unoosa.org) before the symposium to facilitate engagement of participants. Videos of the presentations will be made available to the participants via an online platform after the end of the Conference.

Target Audience and Expected Participants

The Conference is envisioned to reach more than 200 participants. It addresses members of the diplomatic community, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and institutions focusing on space law and policy, policy-and-decision makers, senior experts, legal professionals and practitioners, and university educators, in particular, from developing countries. 

Representatives from United Nations Member States will be invited to the Symposium, together with representatives of various United Nations entities and other international organizations, with the objective of fostering dialogue not only between policy-makers, but also with the private sector and end users. 

The Office is committed to achieve 50/50 gender balance in its programmes and ensuring a balanced representation from different perspectives. Women are encouraged to apply.

Deadline for Registration

Registration for the Conference must be received by Thursday, 3 December 2020, through this form.

Contact

For information regarding the organization and registration of the Conference, please contact:

  Mr. Michael Newman

Office for Outer Space Affairs

unoosa-spacelaw@un.org

 For latest information and updates, please frequently visit the Conference web page here

Language of the Conference

The working language of the Conference will be English.

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