First United Nations Conference on Space Law and Policy

11-13 September 2018

Moscow, Russian Federation



Your Excellencies, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, it is my honor to welcome you to our First United Nations Conference on Space Law and Policy. We present this event in cooperation with the Government of the Russian Federation and with sponsorship from ROSCOSMOS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the ROSCOSMOS Academy.

I would particularly like to thank the moderators, speakers and rapporteurs of each theme, who have decided to give us their time and expertise to ensure that we all get the most out of this Conference. I would also like to extend my deep appreciation to the Government of the Russian Federation for their generosity in assisting us in holding this remarkable event.

Distinguished Participants,

Since 2002, the Office for Outer Space Affairs has been organizing a series of capacity-building workshops on space law and policy. 10 workshops have been successfully held 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, Austria.

The Office is now starting a new expanded phase in its capacity-building efforts, through a new series of dedicated United Nations Conferences on Space Law and Policy. This first Conference will focus on the topical issues of concern to the broader space community, such as peaceful uses of outer space and capacity-building in space law and policy.

Distinguished Participants,

Over decades, the United Nations General Assembly, in its annual resolution on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, has reaffirmed the importance of international cooperation in developing international law, including international space law. International space law is essential for governing international cooperation for the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. The annual resolution also reaffirms the importance of the widest possible adherence to international treaties that promote the peaceful uses of outer space.

The General Assembly, through this resolution, also recognizes that all Member States, in particular those with major space capabilities, should contribute actively to the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

The General Assembly further requests the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to continue to consider, as a matter of priority, ways and means of maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes.

The General Assembly agrees that the Committee should continue to consider the broader perspective of space security and associated matters instrumental for the safe and responsible conduct of space activities, including ways to promote international cooperation, including regional and interregional cooperation, to that end.

Each year, since 2015, the General Assembly, in its resolution on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, also encourages the Office for Outer Space Affairs to conduct capacity-building and outreach activities associated with space security and transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities, as appropriate, and within the context of the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

In this context, the Office, together with its partners, is pleased to be the organizer of this Conference on space law and policy. This Conference will contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 16 which is devoted to "Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels".

Distinguished Participants,

I would also like to highlight the outcomes and successes of the UNISPACE+50 event, which we organised in Vienna this past June. UNISPACE+50 brought together the international community to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and set out the future course of global space cooperation. At UNISPACE+50, Member States endorsed a dedicated resolution on space as a driver of sustainable development that calls for Member States to develop a "Space2030" agenda and implementation plan, to strengthen the contribution of space to the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Distinguished Participants,

The themes of this Conference meet those overarching objectives. In the coming days, we will discuss topics such as promoting responsible, peaceful and safe use of outer space; legal aspects of space debris mitigation and remediation; space resources exploration, exploitation and utilisation; space traffic management as a part of global governance; and the strengthening of capacity-building in space law and policy.

This Conference will also provide an overview of the legal regime governing the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space. It will examine and compare various aspects of space security in a global space governance perspective. Also, it will address space law and policy in the context of UNISPACE+50 and beyond. Therefore, we wish to achieve the following objectives:

First, to promote awareness and knowledge of the legal and policy aspects and implications, both current and anticipated, of activities in outer space. Second, to draw attention of the authorities and decision makers to issues of progressive development of international space law; Third, to increase public awareness of the existing and possible challenges and threats in the area of outer space activities; Fourth, and lastly, to promote international cooperation in space-related areas in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the work of the "Space2030" Working Group.

Distinguished Participants,

Before closing my welcome address, I would like to recall that the Group of Governmental Experts on Transparency and Confidence-building Measures in Outer Space Activities, recommended that coordination be established within the United Nations system on matters related to TCBM in outer space activities, and emphasized the importance of outreach activities.

Thus in 2015 and 2017, the Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Office for Disarmament Affairs organized a joint meeting and a joint panel discussion, respectively, of the General Assembly's First and Fourth Committees on possible challenges to space security and sustainability. I'm very proud to underline that these were milestone events delivered by the two Offices as a ONE UN.

Distinguished Participants,

In the coming days, we will have many opportunities to discuss topics connecting legal and policy matters with areas such as governance of space activities. We will also discuss and review how space science, technology, law and policy relate to and influence space economy, space society, space accessibility and space diplomacy. I sincerely hope that this event will be useful to our common path towards "Space2030".

On behalf of my UNOOSA Team to this event - Welcome!




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