Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Sustainable Development Goal 16 promotes peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Peace, justice and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are at the core of sustainable development. Several regions have enjoyed increased and sustained levels of peace and security in recent decades. But many countries still face protracted armed conflict and violence, and far too many people struggle as a result of weak institutions and the lack of access to justice, information and other fundamental freedoms.

Space technologies are pivotal in:

  • Conflict monitoring
  • Enabling participation of remote and isolated communities in democratic processes
  • Enforcement of legislation
  • Access to reliable information

Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS)


The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity: for peace, security and development. The Committee was tasked with reviewing international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, studying space-related activities that could be undertaken by the United Nations, encouraging space research programmes, and studying legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space.

The Committee has been instrumental in the creation of the five treaties and five principles of outer space. International cooperation in space exploration and the use of space technology applications to meet global development goals are discussed in the Committee every year. Owing to rapid advances in space technology, the space agenda is constantly evolving. The Committee therefore provides a unique platform at the global level to monitor and discuss these developments.

Space Law for New Space Actors Project


UNOOSA is the UN entity responsible for the planning and implementation of activities aimed at building Member State capacity in space law and policy. We have been working with established and emerging space-faring nations alike to support such awareness-raising and adherence efforts since the Office was established by the UN General Assembly in 1958.

UNOOSA works with stakeholders across the legal, policy and capacity building aspects of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. In this context, UNOOSA offers space law capacity-building and legal advisory services, targeted and tailored, for regulatory authorities of new and emerging space-faring nations.

These activities facilitate, on request, countries to draft national space law and/or policy that is in line with the international normative framework on space. Furthermore, these services contribute to raising global adherence to - and awareness of - the existing international and legal instruments on outer space, for the benefit of established and emerging space-faring nations alike.

Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space


Since 1962, the United Nations has maintained a Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space. Originally established as a mechanism to aid the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in its discussions on the political, legal and technical issues concerning outer space, the evolution of international space law resulted in space object registration becoming a means of identifying which States' bear international responsibility and liability for space objects.

Following multi-year discussion among States, the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space entered into force in 1976. States and international intergovernmental organizations that agree to abide by the Convention are required to establish their own national registries and provide information on their space objects to the Secretary-General for inclusion in the United Nations Register. Responsibility for maintenance of the Register was delegated by the Secretary-General to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. As required under the treaty, UNOOSA publicly disseminates the information provided as United Nations documents, which are available through its website and through the United Nations Official Document System.

To date over 89% of all satellites, probes, landers, crewed spacecraft and space station flight elements launched into Earth orbit or beyond have been registered with the Secretary-General.

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