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Governing space activity in the 21st century (WP1526)


Monday 13 to Wednesday 15 March, 2017

This event brought together representatives of government, industry, and the scientific community from developed and developing nations to assess the prospects for improving the governance of human activity in outer space.

The economic security of countries is increasingly reliant on space-based technology and activities. There has also been a significant shift towards industry, rather than government, being primarily responsible for activity in space. Lines between commercial, government and defence systems in space have become blurred, and unilateral space activities are being replaced by bilateral, regional and multinational activities.

The growth in amount of human space-activity, coupled with the increased diversity of space operators, makes it both more complicated and more necessary to develop new norms and rules governing human activity in space. This event heard from a diversity of stakeholders on this topic with a particular emphasis on the voice of industry from emerging and established space faring nations.


  • To engage an international network of technical experts and policymakers to promote informed decision making, responsible behaviour and to share best practice and ideas.
  • To identify the areas of space activity where greater international cooperation is most needed, analyse potential pathways towards formal agreements or treaties, and assess risks and opportunities from a multisector perspective.
  • To work towards creating a more comprehensive rules-based framework on space activities that can underpin behaviour, build trust between states as well non-state actors, and create a formal set of norms for space to guide future developments.

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