Outer Space Security Conference Series at the United Nations in Geneva

Photo courtesy of NASA

In 2002, The Simons Foundation and Project Ploughshares, in partnership with Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada), initiated what has become the Outer Space Security Conference Series organized by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  The Simons Foundation continues to partner with UNIDIR and sponsor the Outer Space Security Conferences which are held to inform the UN Conference on Disarmament on the issue of space security, the peaceful uses of outer space and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

The report of the 2017 conference is now available at the link below:

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


More information and reports on the previous Outer Space Security Conferences at the United Nations in Geneva are available from The Simons Foundation and from UNIDIR at the links below.

Space Security 2016—Sustaining the Momentum: the Current Status of Space Security Conference Report 
April 2016

Space Security 2015: Underpinning Foundations of Space Security
August 2015

Space Security 2014: Implementation and Compliance
March 2014

Space Security 2013: Enhancing confidence, securing space stability
April 2013

Space Security Conference 2012: Laying the Groundwork for Progress
March 2012

Space Security Conference 2011: Building on the Past, Stepping towards the Future
April 2011

Space Security 2010: From Foundations to Negotiations
March 2010

Space Security 2009: Moving Toward a Safer Space Environment
June 2009

Security in Space: The Next Generation
March 2008

Celebrating the Space Age: 50 Years of Space Technology, 40 Years of the Outer Space Treaty
April 2007

Building the Architecture for Sustainable Space Security
March 2006

Safeguarding Space Security: Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space
March 2005

Safeguarding Space for All: Security and Peaceful Uses 
March 2004

Outer Space and Global Security
November 2002