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The United Nations issues a new resolution to update the laws governing the peaceful use of space

The United Nations issues a new resolution to update the laws governing the peaceful use of space

Two space policy experts wrote that the UN resolution issued at the beginning of this month will set out principles for responsible behavior that has the potential to prevent conflict in space.

United Nations General Assembly

To illustrate the urgency and importance of the UN General Assembly’s First Committee resolution, two weeks after it was approved, experts Michael Hanlon and Greg Autry said that Russia has created a massive debris cloud that threatens many space assets by testing a missile from Earth that destroyed one of its satellites.

The objectives of the open-ended working group established by the UN resolution are to assess current and future threats to space operations, to determine when conduct might be considered irresponsible, to “make recommendations on possible standards, rules and principles for responsible conduct,” and to “contribute to the negotiation of binding instruments legally,” including a treaty to prevent an “arms race in space,” according to the authors.

Outer Space Treaty

Activities in space are governed by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, but Hanlon and Ottery point out that the agreement was negotiated when only the United States and the Soviet Union had space capabilities, and although the treaty provides general principles to guide states’ activities, it does not provide ” Detailed rules of the road, for example, vague military restrictions built into the treaty leave enough room for interpretation that might lead to conflict.

Military and civilian uses in space

The authors also stress that the lines between military and civilian uses are blurred enough in the 1967 treaty to make potential conflict more likely than not, adding that increased commercial operations will also provide new opportunities for disputes over areas of operations to provoke government military responses.

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The UN resolution passed earlier this month takes an important first step by requiring the newly established working group to meet twice annually in both 2022 and 2023, which can help keep pace with global space policy modernization needs.

Source: Newsmax website