Space Security 2017—Celebrating the Outer Space Treaty: 50 Years of Space Governance and Stability

Conference Report
United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
Geneva, Switzerland
April 20-21, 2017

The year 2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Outer Space Treaty. Since then, space activities have increased both in number and importance. While continuing to support military operations, space systems have become an indispensable tool for an expanding range of activities, and an invaluable source of socio-economic benefits for billions of people on Earth. However, the strategic value of outer space is threatened as space systems are subject to numerous threats and hazards, ranging from anti-satellite weapons and cyber attacks, to space debris and signal jamming. Irresponsible behaviour in space operations also contributes to undermining confidence and trust among space actors. The international community has been engaged in multiple activities to enhance international stability and ensure that space operations can be safe, secure and sustainable over the long term. These include multilateral initiatives, primarily within the United Nations, to promote and build multilateral consensus on norms of behaviour. Nonetheless, progress has been intermittent and further work is required.

UNIDIR's 2017 Space Security Conference reviewed the main multilateral international initiatives to safeguard access to, and use of, outer space and assess the adequacy of the outer space regime in an evolving space environment, where new threats to space systems and developments in space activities are believed to be potentially destabilizing. The Conference, organized at a time when situational awareness, preparedness, resilience and strategic autonomy have become critical factors for all our public policies, represents a much-needed complement to shaping more incisive security policies.

Researcher: Massimo Pellegrino.

Partners: Secure World Foundation and The Simons Foundation.

Support from UNIDIR's core funders provides the foundation for all of the Institute's activities. In addition, dedicated project funding was received from the Government of the Russian Federation, Secure World Foundation and The Simons Foundation.


Visit UNIDIR for more information on their annual Outer Space Security Conference Series.