Working Group on Legal Aspects of Space Resource Activities

Invitation by the Chair and Vice-Chair for Submissions from States members and organizations having permanent observer status with the Committee on Legal Aspects of Space Resource Activities

As agreed by consensus by the States members of the Committee at the sixty-first session of the Legal Subcommittee, the five-year workplan and methods of work of the Working Group on Legal Aspects of Space Resource Activities (Working Group) requires for initial tasks to be undertaken in 2022 including: 

"… initial administrative, information-collection and stocktaking tasks as provided for in the mandate of the Working Group, including through submissions by States members of the Committee with regard to the mandate and purpose of the Working Group."

In accordance with this requirement and consistent with the inclusive, open and transparent nature of the Working Group, the Chair and Vice-Chair invite submissions from States members of the Committee and organizations having permanent observer status with the Committee are invited to contribute to this initial information-collection and stocktaking activity, as appropriate. 

 As a guide, States members are encouraged to provide relevant information on:

  • The type of space resources that fall within the mandate and scope of the Working Group.
  • The type of activities that fall within the mandate and scope of the Working Group.
  • The type of information to be collected by the Working Group in accordance with its mandate.
  • The views of stakeholders regarding the existing legal framework for space resource activities.
  • The current practices and challenges in the implementation of the existing legal framework for such activities.
  • The benefits and challenges to the development of a framework for such activities.
  • The relevant factors for the development of a set of initial recommended principles for such activities.
  • The format, agenda, topics and other details of the dedicated conference (currently) scheduled for 2024.
  • Any other background or information paper, or any other views, that stakeholders may wish to share.

Please send submissions to  unoosa-spacelaw@un.org.

Additional information may be requested at the discretion of the Chair and Vice-Chair.

Five-year workplan and methods of work for the Working Group 

Found in the Report of the Legal Subcommittee at it sixty-first session in 2022, A/AC.105/1260, Annex II, Appendix

Five-year workplan and methods of work for the Working Group on Legal Aspects of Space Resource Activities

Initial tasks to be undertaken in 2022

1. On the basis of the agreed mandate and terms of reference, agree on the detailed workplan and methods of work of the Working Group. This shall include appropriate means of coordination with the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee.

2. Undertake initial administrative, information-collection and stocktaking tasks as provided for in the mandate of the Working Group, including through submissions by States members of the Committee with regard to the mandate and purpose of the Working Group.

Five-year workplan and methods of work for the Working Group on Legal Aspects of Space Resource Activities, with participation of developing countries encouraged

2023:

(a) Collation and dissemination by the Chair and Vice-Chair of submissions by States members of the Committee with regard to the mandate and purpose of the Working Group, together with a summary of those submissions prepared by the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Working Group, supported by the Secretariat;

(b) Collect relevant information concerning activities in the exploration, exploitation and utilization of space resources, including with respect to scientific and technological developments and current practices, taking into account their innovative and evolving nature;

(c) Initial exchange of views on a study of the existing legal framework for such activities, in particular the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, and other applicable United Nations treaties, also taking into account other relevant instruments, as appropriate;

(d) Initial preparation by the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Working Group, supported by the Secretariat, of a preliminary summary of the information collected and views expressed thus far, for submission to the Working Group for further consideration;

(e) Discuss and reach agreement on the arrangements for a dedicated international conference under the auspices of the United Nations, in accordance with the terms of reference of the Working Group (A/76/20, annex III), with the scope and topics to be addressed at the conference to be more fully elaborated through inputs of States.

2024:

(a) Review additional responses received from States in the intersessional period and continue the collection of relevant information and exchange of views as set out under the work for 2023 above;

(b) Review and update the preliminary summary prepared by the Chair of the information collected and views expressed and consolidate any additional relevant information and views presented for submission to the Working Group for further consideration;

(c) Assess the benefits of further development of a framework for such activities including by way of additional international governance instruments;

(d) Convene the international conference, as mentioned above, preferably in conjunction with the sixty-third session of the Legal Subcommittee, and open to Governments, invited academic and other stakeholders, subject to the availability of extrabudgetary resources. The report on the conference is to be prepared by the Chair of the Working Group, supported by the Secretariat, and submitted to the Working Group for further consideration.

2025:

(a) Presentation by the Chair of the Working Group of the activities undertaken thus far by the Working Group to the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee at its sixty-second session;

(b) Continue exchange of views on the preliminary summary prepared by the Chair and Vice-Chair of the information collected and views expressed in line with the work for 2023 above, review and update the preliminary summary and consolidate any additional relevant information and views presented, for submission to the Working Group for further consideration;

(c) Exchange of views on the development of a set of initial recommended principles for such activities, taking into account the need to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with international law and in a safe, sustainable, rational and peaceful manner.

2026:

(a) Final review and refinement of the summary of discussions on the existing legal framework for such activities, as well as of the assessment of the benefits of further development of a framework for such activities;

(b) Prepare a draft set of initial recommended principles for such activities by the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Working Group, supported by the Secretariat, taking into account the need to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with international law and in a safe, sustainable, rational and peaceful manner;

(c) Exchange of views and compilation of views expressed on possible areas for further work of the Legal Subcommittee and recommended next steps, which may include the development of potential rules and/or norms, for activities in the exploration, exploitation and utilization of space resources, including with respect to related activities and benefit-sharing, taking into account the summary of discussions on the study of the existing legal framework for such activities, as well as the assessment of the benefits of further development of a framework for such activities and the draft set of initial recommended principles for such activities.

2027:

(a) Finalization of a set of initial recommended principles for such activities for the consideration of and consensus agreement by the Committee, followed by possible adoption by the General Assembly as a dedicated resolution or other action;

(b) Adoption by the Committee of a final report of the Working Group, incorporating the results of each of the activities undertaken by the Working Group in accordance with its mandate, as appropriate.

Mandate, terms of reference, and workplan and methods of work of the Working Group

Found in the report of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses Outer Space at its sixty-fourth session in 2021 ( A/76/20 , Annex III )

Mandate, terms of reference, and workplan and methods of work for the working group established under the Legal Subcommittee agenda item entitled "General exchange of views on potential legal models for activities in the exploration, exploitation, and utilization of space resources"

 A. Mandate

The working group shall:

(a) Collect relevant information concerning activities in the exploration, exploitation and utilization of space resources, including with respect to scientific and technological developments and current practices, taking into account their innovative and evolving nature;

(b) Study the existing legal framework for such activities, in particular the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, and other applicable United Nations treaties, also taking into account other relevant instruments, as appropriate;

(c) Assess the benefits of further development of a framework for such activities, including by way of additional international governance instruments;

(d) Develop a set of initial recommended principles for such activities, taking into account the need to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with international law and in a safe, sustainable, rational and peaceful manner, for the consideration of and consensus agreement by the Committee, followed by possible adoption by the General Assembly as a dedicated resolution or other action;

(e) Identify areas for further work of the Committee and recommend next steps, which may include the development of potential rules and/or norms, for activities in the exploration, exploitation and utilization of space resources, including with respect to related activities and benefit sharing.

B. Terms of reference

The terms of reference are as follows:

(a) The working group reports to the Legal Subcommittee of the Committee;

(b) The working group and its meetings shall be guided by the rules of procedure, methods of work and established practices of the Committee, including with respect to contributions by permanent observers and non-governmental stakeholders. The working group may decide to hold intersessional meetings in exceptional circumstances, as appropriate;

(c) The working group will be led by a Chair and a Vice-Chair and shall be supported by the Secretariat;

(d) The working group shall be open to all States members of the Committee, and participation of developing and emerging spacefaring countries shall be encouraged;

(e) The working group shall consider submissions from States members of the Committee on the issues related to and arising from its mandate, while a lso taking into account, as appropriate, those inputs provided in accordance with established practice of the Committee to the working group by permanent observers and all other stakeholders and which the Chair and Vice-Chair, in consultation with the working group, regard as relevant to the work of the working group;

(f) The working group may avail itself of work on the issue of activities in the exploration, exploitation and utilization of space resources, including but not limited to study reports, academic research and papers submitted by any means as may be determined by the working group, which may include through one or more dedicated international conferences convened under the auspices of the United Nations, and open to Governments, invited academic and other stakeholders, subject to the availability of budgetary resources.

C. Workplan and methods of work

The workplan and methods of work shall take into account the following, inter alia:

(a) On the basis of the agreed mandate and terms of reference, the working group shall, in 2022, agree on its detailed workplan and methods of work. This shall include appropriate means of coordination with the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee;

(b) The foregoing shall not prevent the working group from undertaking initial administrative, information collection and stocktaking tasks as provided for in its mandate;

(c) The working group shall in its work avail itself of electronic means of communication whenever practicable and/or necessary. 

Session Documentation

Legal Subcommittee 2022

Intersessional meeting 15 March 2022

Building blocks for the development of an international framework on space resource activities

  Building blocks 

COPUOS 2021 - Chair and Vice-Chair's Amended Proposals

COPUOS 2021 - CRP's containing Chair and Vice-Chair Proposals

  • CRP.11* - Proposal on the mandate, terms of reference, and workplan and methods of work for the working group established under the Legal Subcommittee agenda item entitled "General exchange of views on potential legal models for activities in the exploration, exploitation, and utilization of space resources"
  • CRP.12*- Proposal on five-year workplan for the working group established under the Legal Subcommittee agenda item entitled "General exchange of views on potential legal models for activities in the exploration, exploitation, and utilization of space resources"

Proposals from the Chair and Vice-Chair of the working group

 Working paper submitted by the Chair and Vice-Chair of the working group

  • A/AC.105/L.326 - Proposal on the mandate, terms of reference and method of work of the working group established under the Legal Subcommittee agenda item entitled "General exchange of views on potential legal models for activities in the exploration, exploitation and utilization of space resources"

Scheduled Informal Consultations on Space Resources held during the 60th Session of the Legal Subcommittee

Information from Moderator and Vice-Moderator

 

Proposal from the Moderator and Vice Moderator on the Establishment of a Working Group on Space Resources

 

Responses from States Members of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space on the Draft Plan for Scheduled Informal Consultations

 

Non-Paper on the Establishment of a Working Group on Space Resources

 

LSC 2021 Conference Room Papers

 LSC2021CRPs

 

 

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